World

Japan gov't-appointed panel to discuss what Abe should say in statement to mark WWII's end

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fourth from right, speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fourth from right, speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. Second from right is government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speaks at a meeting with a panel of experts at his official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. The panel of experts appointed by Abe met for the first time Wednesday to discuss what he should say in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, fueling speculation that he may water down previous government apologies for the country's wartime past. Second from right is government spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)  (The Associated Press)

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.