Japan minister at shrine honoring war criminals

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By AP

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Updated: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 01:15:54 EST

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese Cabinet minister has visited a Tokyo shrine that honors the dead including war criminals in what has repeatedly caused friction with Japan's neighbors.

Lawmaker Keiji Furuya, who chairs the National Public Safety Commission, said on his website that he paid respects Sunday morning at the Yasukuni shrine ahead of a festival that starts Monday.

He says he regularly visits Yasukuni at spring and autumn festivals, and on Aug. 15, the day Japan surrendered in 1945.

He said honoring "those dead who gave up their lives for our country is the right thing for a Japanese to do."

Officials' visits to Yasukuni have infuriated China and both Koreas. The 2.5 million Japanese war dead enshrined there include 14 class A war criminals from World War II.

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