Tokyo: Japanese Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo Wednesday visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine amid strong opposition against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s visit there Dec 26, a media report said.
The minister`s visit to the shrine - which honours World War II criminals and is considered as a symbol of Japan`s past militarism - is likely to provoke its neighbouring countries, especially China and South Korea, Xinhua reported citing Japan`s Kyodo news agency.
Shindo also visited the shrine during its spring and autumn festivals, and on the Aug 15 anniversary of Japan`s WWII surrender.
Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine Dec 26, drawing criticism from all quarters, including the US.
Repeated visits to the war shrine by Japan`s ministers and lawmakers have become a major obstacle for the country to mend its already strained ties with China and South Korea.