TOKYO: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Saturday (Sep 19), his first visit since December 2013, after refraining from doing so for most of his term to avoid angering China and South Korea.
Abe announced the visit on his official Twitter account along with a photo of himself at the shrine, just days after Yosihide Suga succeeded him as Japan's leader.
"Today, I paid my respects at the Yasukuni Shrine and reported to the spirits of the war dead my resignation as prime minister," the nationalist politician tweeted.
Abe, who is Japan's longest-serving leader, had stepped down citing health problems.
The former premier had refrained from paying tributes at the shrine in person since his 2013 visit despite other conservative politicians doing so, in particular on August 15 to mark Japan's surrender in World War II.
READ: Japan PM Abe sends offering to Yasukuni war dead shrine on WWII 75th anniversary, avoids personal visit
Four ministers from Abe's cabinet paid tributes at the shrine last month in the first such visit since 2016.
Yasukuni honours 2.5 million war dead, mostly Japanese, who perished in the country's wars since the late 19th century.