PM Abe has sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which is said to house the souls of Class A war criminals, complete with a prayer urging neighbouring countries to “move on”.

The government has reassured the public that the gift was bestowed to the shrine strictly in a private capacity.

PM Abe privately ordered his staff to purchase the masakaki ceremonial tree to present to the shrine for the annual autumn festival.

“He personally signed the gift before his aids sent the tree to avoid any political confusion,” a government official said.

The private offering was publicly known within hours of delivery.