S. Korea voices deep regret over Suga's ritual offering to notorious war-linked shrine

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Photo: Agencies)

SEOUL -- South Korea voiced "deep disappointment and regret" Wednesday over Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's ritual offering to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of the colonial and militaristic past of Japan.

The Seoul foreign ministry said in a statement that the government expresses deep disappointment and regret over the repeated ritual offerings and visits by the Japanese government and parliamentary leaders to the shrine, which beautifies Japan's colonial plunder and war of aggression.

The ministry urged the Japanese leaders to squarely face the history, and to humbly reflect on and show by action their repentance over the historical past.

It noted that Japan should bear in mind that this would be the foundation for the future-oriented development of Seoul-Tokyo relations.

Suga allegedly sent a "masasaki" tree offering to the controversial shrine on the occasion of an annual spring festival. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his visit in person.

The Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among 2.5 million Japanese war dead from World War II.

Visits and ritual offerings, made by Japanese leaders and officials, to the infamous shrine have consistently sparked strong criticism and hurt the feelings of South Korea and other countries brutalized by Japan during the war.

The Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.