China and South Korea protested to Japan after dozens of lawmakers, including a government minister, on Friday visited a controversial war shrine that is seen as a painful reminder of Tokyo's aggressive past.
Yasukuni Shrine honours millions of mostly Japanese war dead, but also enshrines senior World War II military and political figures convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal.
In Beijing, the foreign ministry’s spokesman said Japan should "face up to" its "history of aggression".
South Korea's foreign ministry said the visits and offerings were "deeply worrying and regrettable".
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul to cooperate in countering the growing security threat Pyongyang, did not visit the shrine but sent an offering in the form of a sacred tree.
Internal Affairs Minister Sanae Takaichi and 95 other members of parliament visited the Shinto religious facility in central Tokyo to mark the start of a three-day spring festival. (AFP)..