Abe breaks with tradition by skipping reference to WWII remorse
TOKYO (AFP) - Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe broke with two decades of tradition on Thursday by omitting any expression of remorse over Japan's past aggression in Asia on the anniversary of its 1945 surrender.
Mr Abe's speech - which came after nearly 100 lawmakers including two cabinet ministers visited a controversial war shrine - avoided typical words such as "profound remorse" and "sincere mourning" to atone for those who suffered as Tokyo's Imperial army stormed across East Asia.
The omission was sure to anger China and South Korea, which have bristled at Mr Abe's talk about overhauling Japan's pacifist constitution, while visits to the Yasukuni shrine enrage neighbours who see its as a symbol of Tokyo's imperialist past.
Mr Abe also avoided a promise typically given by past Japanese premiers to "uphold (Japan's) pledge not to engage in war".