A Japanese government-appointed panel of experts will hold its first meeting Wednesday to discuss what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should say in a closely watched statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Japan issued a landmark apology on the 50th anniversary in 1995, acknowledging for the first time its colonization and aggression in Asia before and during the war, followed by a similar apology in 2005.

The question now is whether Abe will repeat the apologies in a statement he's expected to make on the Aug. 15 anniversary of the war's end.

Abe now says he stands by the 1995 apology, known as the Murayama statement. But his plan to issue a new statement is raising suspicion that he will water down the apology.