• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday expressed “deep remorse” over World War II, stressing the path Japan has taken as a peaceful nation since its defeat in the war.

“Bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the war, Japan has consistently walked the path of a peace-loving nation,” Abe said in an address to a Tokyo symposium organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. think tank.

“And Japan has achieved economic development called a miracle, and prospered with countries in Asia and the world,” he said.

Abe called for a “rule-based” world in the 21st century based on a free, tolerant and open system that can accommodate various views.

“What makes it possible, I think, is a liberal international order,” he said. “Japan would like to play a leading role in creating and realizing visions for a new world.”

Japan’s neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, are keenly waiting to hear what the prime minister says in a statement this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Beijing and Seoul have urged Abe to use such phrases as “heartfelt apology,” “colonial rule” and “aggression,” which were used along with “deep remorse” in the statement that Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued on Aug. 15, 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender.

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