South Korea termed the visit a deplorable and anachronistic act that damaged ties between the two countries, and summoned a top Japanese diplomat in Seoul to protest.
“We cannot withhold regret and anger over the visit,” South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yoo Jin-ryong said.
Washington also expressed disappointment.
“Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate tensions with Japan’s neighbors,” a US embassy statement in Tokyo said.
“The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability,” the statement added.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan