South Korea on Tuesday condemned the recent visit by Japanese Cabinet ministers to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, urging Japan to face up to historical facts.
"It's necessary for Japanese political leaders to look squarely into the past history," South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai Young said at a news briefing.
Four Japanese Cabinet ministers, including Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, made offerings last Saturday to the Yasukuni Shrine to commemorate Japanese soldiers killed in World War II.
Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines several Class A war criminals, started an annual ceremony to commemorate Japan's war dead on Saturday.
South Korea and China, both victims of Japan's past military aggression, have repeatedly criticized the Yasukuni visits by Japanese political leaders as unrepentant and hurtful, saying the shrine is a symbol of Japanese militarism.
Relations between South Korea and Japan remain strained over different perceptions of wartime history and a territorial dispute over a pair of South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan, known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.