Protesters demand apology for wartime aggression

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has spent a week in the United States focussing on economic and security issues, particularly defense cooperation with the US. However, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, protesters gathered to demonstrate against him, demanding the Japanese leader apologize for his country's history of aggression during World War Two. 

Not so welcome.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in a downtown Los Angeles hotel on Friday to deliver a speech at the Japanese-U.S. Economic Forum on boosting trade with the US.

But his visit has been accompanied by protests all along.

Protesters, mostly Asian descent, gathered to demonstrate against Abe and his government's stance on atrocities committed by Japan during world war two.

There's disappointment that Abe avoided making a formal apology over the issue.

"All we want is for him to say sorry, to apologize. That's all we want, but he has never mentioned that. He is kind of sly like a snake, and that's not right. He cannot go forward without apologizing for what his country did, his people did," said Ruby Oh, Korean American.

"My name is Migi Bei. I am from Japan. I am also concerned about the Japanese government try to change histroy of WWII. They are putting a lot of pressure to the Japanese textbook. If they change the textbook, out children - I have two kids - they cannot learn from history," said Migi Bei, Japanese protester.

Earlier in the week Abe spoke at the US Congress. He said Japan felt “deep remorse” for its war against neighbouring countries.

But the word "sorry" was never used.

Abe also avoided the thorny issue of "sex slaves", women forced into prostitution by the nation's military.

Protesters found that unacceptable.

"He need to formally apologize to all the Asian women during the second World War," said Hong Ly, protester from Beijing Association.

The focal point of Abe's US visit is to tout Japan's hopes for an expanded security role in East Asia.

But Japan's failure to reconcile with its Asian neighbours certainly casts some doubts on its Asian policies, clouding the nature of its future role.

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