Japan MPs visit controversial war Yasukuni shrine amid islands tension

NEARLY 170 MPs have visited a controversial war shrine seen as potent symbol of Japan’s imperialist past, stoking regional tensions as eight Chinese vessels sailed into disputed waters.

The annual trip to the Yasukuni shrine, which usually draws a far smaller number of legislators, has riled neighbours China and South Korea, which lodged protests after several Japanese cabinet members visited at the weekend.

A total of 168 parliamentarians visited the site in central Tokyo on Tuesday morning according to upper house member of parliament Toshiei Mizuochi.

The shrine honours 2.5 million war dead, including 14 leading war criminals enshrined there, but is seen by Japan’s Asian neighbours as a symbol of its wartime aggression.

The visit came a day after South Korea shelved a proposed trip by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se to Tokyo in protest at trips by Japanese cabinet ministers to the shrine.

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