Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's much anticipated statement regarding the 70th anniversary of World War II's conclusion had all the key words for which potential critics abroad had been looking: "aggression"; "injury"; "utmost grief"; and "remorse." It even mentioned "heartfelt apology," carefully phrased as a sentiment that Japan had repeatedly expressed in the past.

Abe's statement enumerated, often eloquently, the objects of past injury — Japanese compatriots, first and foremost, but also foreign prisoners of war (rarely mentioned before); and even "women behind the battlefield." There were also plenty of verbs describing, sometimes vividly, what had happened to the victims, with the word "suffering" mentioned numerous times, both as verb and noun.

What was strikingly missing in this statement was the subjects of so many sentences: just who it was that had caused the suffering and misery, of which Abe spoke so eloquently.