Japan's prime minister sent a symbolic offering to a controversial war shrine, an act that brought immediate condemnation from South Korea and China.
Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine himself Friday, two of his cabinet ministers did.
In Seoul, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said some Japanese politicians were acting in a way that hurts both countries.
A commentary from China's Xinhua news agency said Japan is sowing the seeds of another war.
The Yasukuni Shrine commemorates Japan's 2.5 million war dead, including 14 convicted World War II war criminals.
Many in South Korea and China, which bore the brunt of Japan's militaristic past, see the visits to the shrine as evidence that Tokyo is unrepentant for atrocities committed in their countries.