World Bulletin / News Desk
Japan's land minister and postal minister visited a controversial shrine for war dead on Thursday in a move which could further strain relations between neighbouring China and Korea, already tense over territorial disputes.
The two ministers' pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by many in the region as a symbol of Japan's war-time militarism, came a day after Japan's main opposition party leader and possible next prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited there.
Land minister Yuichiro Hata and postal minister Mikio Shimoji were among a group of nonpartisan lawmakers visiting the shrine during its autumn festival.
Fourteen Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honoured at the shrine along with other war dead.
Hata told reporters his visit was "private".
"I visited as a secretary general of the People's New Party. It won't be a big diplomatic problem," Kyodo quoted Shimoji as saying.
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The official Xinhua News agency reported earlier that the villagers were found dead at their homes on Thursday morning.
The strikes aimed at "neutralising the terrorists" had caused "multiple casualties", according to the Indian officials.