While Japan-U.S. relations will remain the cornerstone of the nation's diplomacy under the leadership of Yoshihiko Noda, the Democratic Party of Japan's newly elected president and the nation's next prime minister, his past comments on war criminals could strain ties in Asia, analysts said Monday.

Noda, the son of a Ground Self-Defense Force member and a self-proclaimed political conservative, stirred controversy recently when he reiterated his views that Class-A war criminals were not, in fact, war criminals. His remarks drew harsh criticism from South Korea.

Noda submitted a written question to the government in 2005, when the DPJ was still in opposition, in which he wrote that the honor of the Class-A criminals has been recovered in a legal sense, and that they are, in fact, not war criminals.