Seoul has expressed deep disappointment and regret over a group visit by Japanese lawmakers to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine to mark its autumn festival.
In a statement on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said it is disappointing and regrettable that responsible leaders in Tokyo either made offerings to or paid respects at the shrine, which honors convicted war criminals and glorifies the past war of aggression.
The spokesperson said South Korea urges the Japanese leaders to face up to history and to show humble reflection and sincere remorse through actions, thereby contributing toward the development of future-oriented bilateral relations.
According to Japan's Kyodo News, a cross-party group of nearly 100 Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine, as is customary for its spring and autumn festivals as well as the August 15 anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent an offering to mark the festival in lieu of a visit in an apparent attempt to avoid confrontation with neighboring countries South Korea and China, who view the shrine as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.