Japanese PM Abe avoids usual reference to WWII remorse in speech

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) walks past Japan's Emperor Akihito (left) and Empress Michiko during a memorial service ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two, at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2013. -- P
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) walks past Japan's Emperor Akihito (left) and Empress Michiko during a memorial service ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two, at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Conservative Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday skipped a usual reference to expressing remorse over Tokyo's wartime aggression against its Asian neighbours in a speech on the anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender.

Mr Abe is the first Japanese leader in about two decades to avoid using words such as "profound remorse" and "sincere mourning" to atone for Japan's role in the suffering of China, South Korea and other regional nations.