Japan's premier sends offering to controversial Tokyo shrine

Japan Yasukuni

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s new prime minister donated ritual offerings Sunday to a Tokyo shrine viewed by Chinese and Koreans as a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression, though he did not make a visit in person.

Fumio Kishida donated “masakaki” religious ornaments to mark Yasukuni Shrine's autumn festival. It was the first such observance by Kishida since he took office on Oct. 4.

Victims of Japanese aggression during the first half of the 20th century, especially Chinese and Koreans, see the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s militarism because it honors convicted World War II criminals among about 2.5 million war dead.

Such observances are seen by critics as a sign of a lack of remorse over the country's wartime atrocities.

Kishida was visiting the 2011 tsunami-hit areas in northern Japan over the weekend and stayed away from the shrine.

His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, also only made offerings during his one-year leadership. He stepped down in September and visited the shrine on Sunday, dressed in a formal morning coat.

Suga told reporters that he visited as a former prime minister to ȁ