The chief priest at Japan’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine is to resign after making remarks highly critical of Emperor Akihito.
In comments leaked to a magazine, Kunio Kohori said he believed Emperor Akihito was trying to destroy the shrine by not visiting it.
The shrine in Tokyo honours Japan’s 2.5 million war dead but also enshrines convicted criminals of World War Two.
It remains a high source of tension with neighbours, particularly China.
Emperor Akihito, who will abdicate next year, has never visited the shrine.
He has instead sought reconciliation with Japan’s wartime enemies.
He has expressed regret over Japan’s military actions in both China and the Korean peninsula, and has also visited several Pacific battlefields to honour the dead, actions that have brought him into conflict with right-wing groups at home.
Kunio Kohori’s comments, made during a meeting at the shrine on 20 June, were leaked to the Shukan Post magazine. Read more