A cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers reportedly visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Wednesday.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News, members of a bipartisan group that makes periodic visits to the shrine went on the second day of the shrine’s autumn festival, with the outlet quoting an official from the group as saying that 80 politicians attended.
The group usually visits the shrine for its spring and autumn festivals as well as the August 15 anniversary of Japan’s surrender, but had put off visits during the COVID-19 pandemic before resuming in December 2021 after a 26-month hiatus.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent the “Masakaki” offering under his title as prime minister to mark the beginning of the shrine’s autumn festival in lieu of an in-person visit as he has done for the biannual festivals since taking office in October 2021.
The shrine, which honors Japan's war dead and includes 14 Class-A war criminals, is considered a symbol of Japan's military aggression, and visits by state leaders are often protested by neighboring South Korea and China.