Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visits the war-related Yasukuni Shrine as "a private citizen" rather than in an official capacity, Japanese government said in a statement Tuesday.
The comments were made in its written response to questions from House of Representatives member Tetsundo Iwakuni of the Democratic Party of Japan.
On the premier's visits to the shrine, the government said they are not official events and that public money has not been spent on them.
The written response also noted that when late Emperor Hirohito visited the shrine, he did so privately, not in performance of a state function.
Koizumi has visited the shrine once every year since taking office in April 2001. Last month, he indicated a plan at a parliament meeting to again visit the shrine sometime this year.
(Xinhua News Agency June 15, 2005)