Japan Is Done Apologizing for World War II
Prime minister makes a notable break with tradition
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2015 12:45 PM CDT
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, accompanied by his wife Akie, left, prays at his ancestors' grave in Nagato, western Japan, Friday.   (Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP)

(Newser) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today made a speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and he's making headlines for what he didn't say: We're sorry. Abe expressed "deepest remorse" for Japan's actions and "sincerest condolences" to its victims, but he broke with tradition by stopping short of an apology, reports the Guardian. Japan has repeatedly apologized in the past, he said, and those sentiments will remain "engraved in our hearts." But "we must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize.”

The New York Times reports that Abe chose his words carefully, describing them as "a potentially contentious break with previous expressions of contrition by Japanese leaders." China isn't pleased, accusing Abe of "linguistic tricks" and criticizing the lack of a "heartfelt apology." Abe is Japan's first prime minister who was born after the end of the war, notes CNN, and many of his generation think the never-ending apologies make Japan seem weak. (Japan also is moving away from its tradition of pacifism.)