South Korea's top diplomat cancelled an official trip to Tokyo this week after Japan's prime minister made donations and three cabinet officials prayed at a controversial military shrine, where some war criminals are honored.
South Korean officials said Monday that Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se had planned to outline the direction of bilateral relations with Japan, but cancelled the trip in protest after three Japanese cabinet members prayed at the Yasukuni shrine in recent days.
A Japanese government spokesman says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the shrine but donated a ceremonial tree.
The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo honors Japan's war dead, including 14 wartime leaders convicted of war crimes after World War Two. Visits by government officials to Yasukuni remains irritant to Japan's Asian neighbors.