China denounces Japan ministers' Yasukuni shrine visits

BEIJING - China's foreign ministry on Saturday voiced "strong dissatisfaction" over a visit by a trio of Japanese cabinet ministers to Tokyo's controversial Yasukuni shrine.

"Some Japanese politicians chose this day to visit the shrine, which honours 'Class A' war criminals and glorifies the aggressive war," the ministry said in a statement.

"It demonstrates again Japan's erroneous attitudes toward the historical issues," it added. "China lodges its resolute opposition and strong dissatisfaction."

The visits -- on the anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender -- came a day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a new statement on World War II, which China and South Korea said did not amount to a proper apology for Tokyo's past aggression.

Visits by Japanese politicians to Yasukuni enrage neighbouring nations, which view them as an insult and painful reminder of now-pacifist Japan's history.

The shrine is dedicated to millions of Japanese who died in conflicts -- but also includes more than a dozen war criminals' names on its honour list and a museum that portrays Japan as a victim of US aggression.

It makes scant reference to the brutality of invading Imperial troops when they stormed across Asia -- especially China and Korea -- in the 20th century.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not visit the leafy Yasukuni shrine on Saturday and sent a ritual offering instead, local media reported.

His late 2013 visit drew an angry response from Beijing and Seoul, as well as a rebuke from close ally Washington.