ABE VISITS CONTROVERSIAL WAR SHRINE

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TOKYO: Japan’s Shinzo Abe offered a gift to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine on Monday, but reportedly plans to stay away during the spring festival, in an apparent compromise between not angering Asian neighbors and playing to his nationalist base. The unapologetically nationalist Abe donated a sacred “masakaki” tree to coincide with the start of a three-day festival, a shrine official said, two days ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama. The sending of a gift has been seen as a sign that Abe does not intend to visit, as he did on December 26, sparking fury in Asia and earning him a diplomatic slap on the wrist from the United States, which said it was “disappointed.”

AFP

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