TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a monetary offering to the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday on the 72nd anniversary of Japan's surrender which brought an end to World War II.
Two groups of lawmakers also visited the shrine on Tuesday morning with one group of junior, conservative Liberal Democratic Party members headed by known nationalist Tomomi Inada.
Inada, a protege of Abe's and known to share his similar right-wing views, quit her post recently as Defense Minister to account for a cover up scandal related to Japanese troops' activities while on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
The second assembly comprised a bipartisan group, which included Masahisa Sato, senior vice foreign minister, which promotes lawmakers visiting Yasukuni Shrine.
Abe himself is reportedly to refrain from visiting the notorious shrine in person in an effort to prevent further damage to Japan's relationship with its closest neighbors at a time Japan and the region is facing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The Japanese leader, however, sent his special advisor, Masahiko Shibayama, to make the monetary donation by proxy to the shrine.
The donation was made in Abe's capacity as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, not as the prime minister, but, also, not as a private citizen.
After making the donation as Abe's proxy, Shibayama told a press briefing that Abe had instructed him to pay a visit on his behalf and said that he "feels sorry for not being able to visit the shrine."
It is the fifth consecutive year that Abe has made a ritual offering, instead of paying a visit to the shrine on Aug. 15. in person.
Abe last visited Yasukuni Shrine in December 2013, which caused a backlash from Beijing and Seoul and also saw the United States express its opposition to and disappointment in the move.
Visits and ritual offerings made by senior politicians to the war-linked shrine consistently disregard the feelings of those in Japan's neighboring countries.
As such, the move will likely draw the ire of Japan's closest neighbors, including South Korea and China, who suffered immeasurably at the barbaric hands of the Imperial Army of Japan before, during and after World War II.
Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among Japanese war dead from WWII and is regarded as a symbol of past Japanese militarism.
The shrine is run by a private foundation and the 14 Class-A war criminals' "souls" were enshrined there secretly in 1978, by the clandestine organization.
The foundation, which also runs Yasukuni's museum, nowadays openly depicts the war criminals as martyrs and blatantly misrepresents Japan's war in China as an act of "suppression" rather than one of aggression.
The museum has numerous displays showcasing Japan's war-time endeavors, but has flagrantly misrepresented the actual facts, in not referring to well-documented war-related incidents such as the Nanjing Massacre, experiments conducted on prisoners of war and the suffering of thousands of "comfort women" at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army, for example.