World

Japan marks 70th anniversary of WWII surrender; Abe stays away from contentious war shrine

  • Visitors bow to pay respects to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    Visitors bow to pay respects to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Japan marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean protesters hold banners during a rally denouncing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Abe acknowledged that Japan inflicted "immeasurable damage and suffering" on innocent people in the war, but stopped short of offering his own apology, drawing criticism from China and South Korea. The rally was held to mark Korean Liberation Day from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.  (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    South Korean protesters hold banners during a rally denouncing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Abe acknowledged that Japan inflicted "immeasurable damage and suffering" on innocent people in the war, but stopped short of offering his own apology, drawing criticism from China and South Korea. The rally was held to mark Korean Liberation Day from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his remarks during a memorial service at Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in Tokyo, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Japan marked Saturday the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his remarks during a memorial service at Nippon Budokan martial arts hall in Tokyo, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Japan marked Saturday the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

Japan has marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from a contentious Yasukuni shrine that honors war criminals among other war dead.

Abe instead prayed at a national cemetery for unnamed fallen soldiers on Saturday ahead of the annual ceremony at Tokyo's Budokan hall. However, two of his Cabinet ministers prayed at the shrine.

Abe donated Shinto-style religious ornaments for the shrine, as he has done in the past since his last visit in December 2013 that triggered uproar from China and South Korea.

Abe issued his closely monitored statement Friday ahead of the Aug. 15 anniversary, acknowledging damage and suffering on innocent people but falling short of apologizing in his own words to the victims of Japan's aggression.