Japanese cabinet shun controversial Yasukuni shrine

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A ceremony at the Yasukuni shine in Tokyo (15 August 2010)
Image caption,
The shrine honours Japan's war dead, including executed war criminals

Ministers in Japan's new centre-left government have stayed away from a controversial shrine on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

It is the first time in 25 years that the entire cabinet has stayed away from ceremonies at the Yasukuni shrine.

Government ministers paying respects at the Tokyo shrine, which honours Japan's war dead, including war criminals, have in the past angered Japan's neighbours.

The new DPJ-led government had promised to be more considerate.

Other politicians, including opposition leaders, did attend ceremonies at the Yasukuni shrine.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited a national cemetery in Tokyo before attending a remembrance ceremony with Emperor Akihito, son of wartime Emperor Hirohito.

"We feel deep regret, and we offer our sincere feelings of condolence to those who suffered and their families," Mr Kan said.

The Democratic Party of Japan ousted the conservative Liberal Democratic Party in August last year.

The LDP had held power in Japan for almost the entire post-war era.