Dozens of Japanese lawmakers were praying at a Tokyo shrine honoring the nation's war dead on Tuesday, a day after a visit by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that triggered angry protests from China and South Korea who say the visits glorify militarism.
The group of about 200 Liberal Democratic Party senior members and opposition party members was scheduled to visit Yasukuni Shrine early Tuesday to pay respects to the war dead for a fall festival, shrine official Yoko Tokoro said.
The visits come just a day after Koizumi prayed at the shrine, his fifth trip to Yasukuni since becoming prime minister in April 2001, despite a recent court decision that ruled the visits violate Japan's constitutional division of religion and state.
The visits enflame tensions with South Korea and China, which suffered from Tokyo's conquest of East Asia in the first half of the 20th century. Those tensions peaked in April with anti-Japanese riots in several Chinese cities, AP reports.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea