It comes as no great surprise anymore when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chooses to glorify some of Japan's worst war criminals much to the despair and anger of Japan's neighbors who suffered under Japanese imperialism.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has confirmed that Abe sent a note to a memorial ceremony in late April.
In his message, Abe offers his sincere condolences to the criminals, whom he refers to as martyrs that became the foundation of the country's peace and prosperity.
It was the first time a sitting prime minister sent such a note, but Suga said Abe's remarks did not come from his capacity as prime minister.
"In this case, he sent this message as the head of the Liberal Democratic Party. As such, the government thinks of him in this respect as a private citizen."
Korea's foreign ministry told Arirang News that it's deeply concerned by Prime Minister Abe's act, calling it another denial of the post-war structure set by the international community to address Japan's past atrocities.
On the same day, China demanded that the Japanese government make a clean break with militarism for the sake of rebuilding relations with its neighbors.
The ceremony's venue was founded in 1994 to worship nearly 12-hundred soldiers convicted of some of the worst wartime crimes.
Fourteen class-A war criminals are among those who are also honored at the more well-known Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.