German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on a visit to Japan that Germany was able to return to a respected place in the international society because of its efforts to squarely face its World War II atrocities that caused tremendous damage to its neighbors.

But Merkel, at a speech Monday organized by the Asahi newspaper in Tokyo, said she could not give any specific advice to Japan because lessons should be learned by its own people.

Her comments come as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepares to deliver a statement later this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. There is a speculation that Abe, seen as a revisionist hawk, may water down Japan's 1995 landmark apology over its aggression across Asia.