A cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers visited the notorious Yasukuni Shrine on Tuesday during its annual spring festival.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual donation to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Sunday, the first day of the three-day spring festival.
The Japanese leader did not visit the controversial shrine in person in light of improving regional relations, particularly with China.
The same goes for his Cabinet ministers, thus far, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The shrine, seen by neighboring countries as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, has long-been a source of diplomatic friction between Japan and its neighbors as it honors convicted war criminals together with the war dead.
Yasukuni Shrine honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals among 2.5 million Japanese war dead from World War II.
Visits and ritual offerings made in person or by proxy to the infamous shrine by Japanese leaders, officials and lawmakers have consistently sparked strong criticism and hurt the feelings of China and South Korea and other countries brutalized by Japan during World War II.