TOKYO, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday made an offering to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine on Monday when its three-day spring festival.
The sacrifice came ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Japan later this week and Abe, in a move to avoid provoking the United States, decided not to worship the shrine during the spring festival.
Abe himself also visited Yasukuni on the first anniversary of the launch of his government on Dec. 26 2013.
The December shrine visit triggered strong opposition worldwide, including China and South Korea. The United States, Japan's key ally, also commented that Abe's visit was disappointed and will worsen Japan's relations with neighboring China and South Korea.
Local media reported that making an offering to the shrine instead of visiting it is widely seen as an attempt by Abe to strike a balance between diplomacy and domestic politics as Abe is strongly supported by Japanese conservatives during his current term.
Chairman of Japan's National Public Safety Commission Keiji Furuya and Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited to the shrine on Sunday and on April 12, respectively.
Relations between Japan and China and South Korea have frayed due not only to territorial disputes, but also to Japan's attitude toward its wartime history, including the Yasukuni issue.
China and South Korea have urged Japan to face up to its past wartime history and maintain a correct attitude toward history, rather than trying to whitewash its aggression past.