On April 8, 2022, Japan's prime minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a press conference at the prime minister's official residence. TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, a move likely to draw criticism from Asian neighbors such as South Korea, where a new president takes office next month.
Kishida, who sent an offering in October at the time of a festival at the shrine, has followed the example of previous Japanese leaders by refraining from visiting in person during spring and autumn festivals to avoid angering China and South Korea.
The shrine in Tokyo is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan's past military aggression because 14 Japanese wartime leaders were convicted by an Allied tribunal among the 2.5 million war dead honored there, and past offerings have provoked angry responses.
Kishida, who is viewed as being more liberal among lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, hopes to improve relations with South Korea under President Yoon Suk-yeol, who takes office on May 10.