Seoul slams Japan minister's visit to controversial war shrine

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea denounced Friday a Japanese minister and politicians' visit to the controversial war shrine, calling once again on Japan to humbly reflect on its past wars of aggression.

"Our government's consistent stance is that Japanese politicians should not pay respects to the Yasukuni shrine, which (is meant to) justify its past history of war," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The government urges Japanese politicians to build trust from neighbors through "humble reflection and an introspection on its history," it said.

More than 150 Japanese politicians, including Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo, paid a visit to the Tokyo shrine on Friday as the country holds a major autumn festival.

Seoul expressed "deep regret" over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ritual offering to the shrine a day earlier.

The Yasukuni shrine, which honors many convicted Class A war criminals along with millions of Japanese war dead, is viewed here as symbolizing Japan's imperial past.

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