South Korea on Thursday expressed "deep concerns" over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ritual offering to a war shrine seen as a symbol of Japan's imperialistic past.
Abe sent the offering to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine via an aide to mark the country's 1945 surrender in World War II, Kyodo News reported. It marked the seventh consecutive year for him to send an offering to the shrine on the Aug. 15 day of surrender since taking office in December 2012.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe made the offering in his capacity as a private citizen.
"The government expresses deep concerns over responsible leaders of the Japanese government and parliament sending offerings and paying respects again at the Yasukuni Shrine that glorifies Japan's past colonial plunder and war of invasion and enshrines war criminals," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a press release.
The ministry also called for "humble reflection" by Japanese politicians over their country's past.
"(We) point out that based on that attitude, the South Korea-Japan relations can develop in a future-oriented manner, and Japan will be able to win trust from the international community," it said.