Japan FM backs down over shrine

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has backtracked on his controversial call for the emperor to visit a war shrine despised by China and South Korea.

Mr Aso said the visit was impossible "under the current situation", but he hoped it would happen in the future.

The Yasukuni shrine, which honours 2.5m war dead, has been avoided by Japanese emperors ever since 14 top World War II criminals were enshrined there in 1978.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits have strained ties with China.

China cancelled a bilateral summit last month over the issue.

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