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Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has apologized to Asian countries for his country's aggression during World War two. And his cabinet is refusing to visit the controversial Tokyo war shrine, where top Japanese war criminals are honored.
In the past, many politicians including former prime minister Shinzo Abe and main opposition leader Sadakazu Tanigaki, visited the shrine despite the outrage from countries and regions that suffered from Japanese imperialism.
A ceremony was held Sunday to mark the 65th anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender in the war.
Naoto Kan, Japanese Prime Minister, said, "We caused great damage and suffering to many nations during the war, especially to the people of Asia. I am deeply sorry for that and I humbly express my condolences to the victims and their bereaved families."
Following Kan's address, participants observed a one-minute silence at noon for the some 3 million Japanese who died in the war.
Emperor Akihito was among the mourners.
Akihito, Emperor of Japan, said, "With history in reflection, I sincerely hope that war atrocities will not be repeated. I, together with the people of Japan, express my heartfelt condolences for the war dead and pray for world peace and the further prosperity of our nation."
It is the first time since the end of the second World War that an entire Japanese Cabinet has refused to visit Yasukuni on the anniversary, August the 15th.
Kan says his country will actively contribute to the establishment of ever-lasting peace in the world.