Japan PM Yasukuni visit to 'exacerbate tensions': US embassy

TOKYO- The United States is "disappointed" by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni war shrine, which will raise regional tensions, its embassy in Tokyo said Thursday.

"Japan is a valued ally and friend. Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan's leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan's neighbours," a written statement said.

The reaction came a few hours after Abe went to the shrine, which commemorates more than 2.5 million war dead including more than a dozen high-ranking officials convicted of serious war crimes.

The shrine is a sticking point in relations between Japan and other Asian countries it invaded in the first half of the 20th century. They see it as a place where Tokyo whitewashes its past and glorifies militarism.

"The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbours will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability," the statement said.

"We take note of the Prime Minister's expression of remorse for the past and his reaffirmation of Japan's commitment to peace."