(ATTN: UPDATES with Japanese lawmakers visiting shrine, background)
TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent an offering to a war shrine seen as a symbol of Japan's imperialistic past Thursday to mark the country's 1945 surrender in World War II, a news report said.
Abe sent the offering to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine via an aide, 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.
Abe, however, did not visit the shrine in person.
His last visit to the shrine in 2013 sparked strong protests from South Korea and China. The shrine honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals, and neighboring countries view shrine visits by Japanese leaders as an attempt to beautify the country's militaristic past.
On Thursday, about 50 right-wing lawmakers from Japan's ruling and opposition parties visited the shrine en masse and paid their homage.
Cabinet members were not expected to visit the shrine.
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