TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited a shrine to war dead seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism on Thursday, a move likely to anger China and further strain icy ties between Asia's two largest economies.
China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan's occupation and colonization in the 20th century, are expected to be upset by the visit on the anniversary of Tokyo's World War Two defeat because the shrine also honors Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who says it is only natural to pay respects to those who died for their country, is expected to make an offering to the shrine but skip a personal visit on Thursday. China said last week that visits by Japanese political leaders were unacceptable in any form.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Linda Sieg and Richard Pullin)