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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday, but did not visit in person in an effort to avoid inflaming tensions with Asian neighbors.
Koichi Hagiuda, an executive of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters that Abe had sent the offering in his capacity as ruling party leader to pay his respects to the war dead and wanted to apologize for not going in person.
Visits by Japanese leaders to the shrine in central Tokyo have outraged China and South Korea, which suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization in the 20th century, because wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honored there along with the nation's war dead.
(Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by John Mair)