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TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away from a Tokyo shrine that honors convicted war criminals among the war dead apparently not to spark controversy from neighboring countries as Japan marked the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II.
Abe on Monday sent a pair of religious ornament to the Yasukuni Shrine, apparently as Tokyo arranges a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in China next month.
Abe's last visit in December 2012 had drawn sharp rebukes from China and South Korea, which see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan's wartime militarism and consider lawmakers visits as whitewashing of Japan's wartime aggression.
Abe was to attend a state memorial ceremony later Monday.
Dozens of lawmakers paid visits to the shrine.