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September 21, 2017

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VP Biden asked Abe not to visit war shrine: report

TOKYO--U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spent an hour trying to persuade Japan's prime minister not to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, two weeks before a pilgrimage that sparked fury in Asia, a report said Wednesday.

In a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Dec. 12, Biden repeatedly urged the Japanese premier to stay away from the shrine, Kyodo News said, quoting unnamed diplomatic sources.

"I will decide by myself whether I will go," Abe reportedly responded, during what Kyodo said was a "tense" conversation with the U.S. vice president. Biden finally gave up, saying he would leave the decision to the prime minister, the agency added.

Washington issued a rebuke after Abe's visit to the Shrine, saying it was "disappointed" by Abe's action.

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