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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated that he might not follow the words used in the 1995 statement by then leader Tomiichi Murayama to express Japan’s “remorse and apology” for its colonial rule and wartime aggression of its Asian neighbors — when he releases a new statement this summer to mark the 70th year after the war. If the prime minister plans to change the core components of the Murayama statement, he needs to carefully consider what message Japan would be sending through his words to the neighbors — in particular China and South Korea.

During an NHK-TV program on Sunday, Abe said, “Rather than consider whether to use the wording we have repeated, I want to issue (the new statement) in light of how the Abe administration considers the matter.”

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