Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed the nation's "deep remorse" over World War II on Wednesday, but he did not repeat a "heartfelt apology" to the Asian peoples affected by Japan's "colonial rule and aggression" during and before the war.

These phrases were part of a landmark statement Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued on Aug. 15, 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of the war's end. They were also used by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the 2005 Asian-African Summit.

"Japan, with feelings of deep remorse over the past war, made a pledge to remain a nation always adhering to those very principles throughout, no matter what the circumstances," Abe said in an address on the first day of a two-day summit of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta.