Yasuo Fukuda expressed his "deep regret" over the war, and renewed his country's commitment to peace.
But he did not stop three ministers paying their respects at the Yasukuni shrine to those who died fighting for Japan, including war criminals. sez BBC
So? What's the point?
Previous prime ministers have stirred regional tensions by visiting Yasukuni.
Repeated visits by Junichiro Koizumi caused anger in South Korea and China, where there remains a widely-held conviction that Tokyo has not atoned properly for its war-time crimes.
Mr Koizumi's successor, Shinzo Abe, also paid respects at the shrine, though not while in office.
So? Name the others. Even you admit that Mr. Abe was not a Prime Minister at the time. You didn’t even bother to find out, did you? I’ll give you a name. Yasuhiro Nakasone. I dare you to find another one that “stirred regional tensions.” I can’t, since I don’t have assistants to look out for me.
There, bitterness at Japan's perceived reluctance to assume responsibility for its war-time wrongdoing lies behind several thorny bilateral issues, such as the current dispute over a pair of islets which lie between the two countries.
Let me tell you something. The only way we can put that South Korean fury to rest is if Japan relinquishes all claims to Takeshima, forfeiting its right to resort to seeking legal recourse at the Hague. To South Korea, Japan’s pursuit of legal remedies is a manifestation of its “reluctance to assume responsibility for its wrongdoing”—not limited to “wartime”.
Mr Fukuda has worked to try to resolve the tensions with Japan's neighbours that marked Mr Koizumi's 2001-06 period in office.
Again, an editorial decision to ignore Mr. Abe’s role in the Japan-China (and South Korea) political rapprochement. The willful ignorance repeatedly displayed by Western journalists continues to take way my breath.