U.S. official urges more regional dialogue over Yasukuni visit

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman on Friday urged Japan to engage in dialogue with its neighbors in connection with visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine by lawmakers including a Cabinet member.

Jen Psaki told reporters the United States has been encouraging Japan to "continue to work with its neighbors to resolve concerns over history in an amicable way, through dialogue."

Psaki said Washington hopes for amicable settlement of the history-related issues involving Japan and its neighbors including China and South Korea, as the United States has "an interest in regional peace."

Japanese internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo, a veteran politician close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and some 160 other lawmakers visited the Shinto shrine in Tokyo on Friday.

The move drew criticism from the neighboring countries which suffered under Japan before and during World War II.

Seoul and Beijing have asked Japanese leaders to refrain from paying homage at the shrine, as it honors convicted Japanese Class-A war criminals along with the war dead.