Hayao Miyazaki, director of "Spirited Away," which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, indicated Monday that he finds it hard to celebrate the prize because of what is going on in the world, apparently referring to the war in Iraq.

Miyazaki, who did not attend the 75th Annual Academy Awards ceremony held in Los Angeles on Sunday, said in a handwritten statement, "It is regrettable that I cannot rejoice from my heart over the prize because of the deeply sad events taking place in the world.

"However, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all my friends who have lent their effort in releasing 'Spirited Away' in the United States and to all those who have shown their appreciation of the movie," the statement said.

At Tokyo's Studio Ghibli, which created the movie, staff applauded and cheered on hearing about the Oscar win.

Miyazaki did not appear at the studio to talk to reporters.

Producer Toshio Suzuki, who held a news conference, said: "In the normal course of events, Miyazaki should be making a speech. But he has said that he cannot be truly joyful because of the times we are in now."

He has said that he cannot bear to have media broadcasting his happy face" at such a time.

Suzuki said it was "most moving" to think that "Spirited Away" was initially rejected by a major U.S. movie distributor as unsuitable for the U.S. market, but that it went on to win such a prestigious prize.