Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on Monday for the second straight year, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Empress Shoken, consort of Emperor Meiji.
"I prayed for the prosperity of the country of Japan and its people, peace and well-being," Abe told reporters after the visit to the Shinto shrine with strong imperial connections.
Wearing a business suit and accompanied by his wife Akie, Abe performed Shinto-style prayers at Meiji Jingu, paying the ceremony fee out of his own pocket. His aides said Abe made the visit in a private capacity as on his last visit in January 2013.
Monday also marks the 62nd anniversary of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952, which ended the post-World War II occupation of Japan by the Allies.
Last year, the Abe administration held a ceremony to commemorate the day. But it drew strong opposition from people in Okinawa Prefecture, which remained occupied by the United States until 1972, and no such event was held this year.