Visitors walk at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
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Japan's hawkish defense minister prayed Thursday at a controversial war shrine in Tokyo the day after accompanying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a symbolic visit of reconciliation to Pearl Harbor, drawing swift condemnation from neighbour South Korea.Tomomi Inada's visit to the shrine was her first since taking the key defense portfolio in August, though she has frequently gone in the past.Inada made the pilgrimage the day after, in Japan time, Abe and Obama's joint visit to the site of the Japanese military's December 7, 1941 attack on the navy base in Hawaii that drew the U.S. into World War II.Inada is a close confidante of Abe and holds staunchly nationalist and revisionist views.Abe has himself avoided Yasukuni after going there three years ago to commemorate his first anniversary as prime minister.That sparked fury in Beijing and Seoul and earned a diplomatic rebuke from close ally the United States, which said it was "disappointed" by the action.Japanese conservatives have called on him to resume visits.
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