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Japanese Cabinet shuns Shinto shrine

TOKYO, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Not one member of Japan's Cabinet visited Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, a first since the 1980s.

The move by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Democratic Party of Japan is meant to show respect to China and South Korea, which consider the shrine a tribute to Japan's military past, Kyodo News reported.

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Instead, Kan paid tribute to unknown soldiers who died in the war with a visit to a national cemetery in Tokyo.

The DPJ defeated the Liberal Democratic Party in August 2009 and is eager to distinguish itself from the long-ruling party known for frequent visits to the Shinto shrine. LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki, Secretary-General Tadamori Oshima and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe all visited Yasukuni Sunday.

Kan discourages official visits to the shrine because he says the site honors war criminals.

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