Asked about that, Abe says: “Let me set the record straight. Throughout my first and current terms as prime minister, I have expressed a number of times the deep remorse that I share for the tremendous damage and suffering Japan caused in the past to the people of many countries, particularly in Asia. I have explicitly said that, yet it made few headlines.”
Yet when asked whether Japan’s war on China, Korea and the US amounted to “aggression,” Abe seems to equivocate: “I have never said that Japan has not committed aggression. Yet at the same time, how best, or not, to define ‘aggression’ is none of my business. That’s what historians ought to work on.”
In the end, the prime minister looks to the future and seeks to leave on an upbeat note, saying: “I have been saying that our work is to discuss what kind of world we should create in the future.”
Richard Halloran is a commentator in Hawaii.