World

Japanese leader doesn't offer customary apology for World War II at Asia-Africa meeting

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepare for a group photo during the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepare for a group photo during the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his speech during a plenary session at the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (Beawiharta/Pool Photo via AP)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his speech during a plenary session at the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (Beawiharta/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo after their bilateral meeting on the sideline of the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, Pool)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo after their bilateral meeting on the sideline of the Asian African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, April 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

South Korea has expressed deep regret that Japan's leader did not repeat his predecessors' apologies for the country's aggression during World War II.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Asian and African leaders in Indonesia on Wednesday that Japan has "feelings of deep remorse" over the war. But he did not express a "heartfelt apology" for Japan's past "colonial rule and aggression" — phrases that previous prime ministers have used in official statements about the war.

Abe's decision is fueling speculation that he will also not apologize in a key statement in August marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expressed "deep regret because Prime Minister Abe omitted the key expressions of apology and repentance."