Members of an expert panel on the war anniversary statement to be issued this summer by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a heated debate about whether Japan committed wartime "aggression," according to a summary of their discussion.

Minutes released Monday of the panel's second meeting, held March 13, show sharp divisions among the 16 members over whether to use the word "aggression," as did the statement issued 20 years ago by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama that included an apology for Japan's wartime aggression in Asia.

The content of this year's war anniversary statement is drawing close attention from China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan's wartime brutality and see Abe as having revisionist historical views.