Japanese defense chief visits contentious war shrine

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s defense minister has visited a Tokyo shrine viewed by China and both Koreas as a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression to pray for the war dead just days before the nation marks the 76th anniversary of its World War II defeat. Victims of Japanese actions during the first half of the 20th century see the shrine as a symbol of Japanese militarism because it honors convicted war criminals among about 2.5 million war dead. Nobuo Kishi is the first serving defense chief to visit the shrine since 2016. South Korea and China criticize offerings or visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine, urging them to face up to and reflect on Japan’s wartime aggression.

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