A look at past WWII-related visits by Japanese Emperor

  • FILE - In this May 26, 1998, file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II accompanies Japan's Emperor Akihito to the State Banquet Hall at Buckingham Palace in London. Akihito repeatedly encountered jeering by former prisoners of war and civilian internees protesting their harsh treatment by the Japanese military. The POWs demanded a formal apology and turned their backs on the emperor as he was taken by Queen Elizabeth along The Mall to Buckingham Palace. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this May 26, 1998, file photo, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II accompanies Japan's Emperor Akihito to the State Banquet Hall at Buckingham Palace in London. Akihito repeatedly encountered jeering by former prisoners of war and civilian internees protesting their harsh treatment by the Japanese military. The POWs demanded a formal apology and turned their backs on the emperor as he was taken by Queen Elizabeth along The Mall to Buckingham Palace. (John Stillwell/Pool Photo via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Oct. 23, 1992, file photo, then-Chinese President Yang Shangkun, left, leads Japan's Emperor Akihito as they review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The Japanese government saw Akihito's visit to China as an opportunity to heal wounds left by Japan's wartime aggression. He offered what was then the strongest imperial statement of remorse over the war, though stopped short of apologizing.

    FILE - In this Oct. 23, 1992, file photo, then-Chinese President Yang Shangkun, left, leads Japan's Emperor Akihito as they review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The Japanese government saw Akihito's visit to China as an opportunity to heal wounds left by Japan's wartime aggression. He offered what was then the strongest imperial statement of remorse over the war, though stopped short of apologizing. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 28, 2005, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow their heads in silent prayers at Saipan's Banzai Cliff, or Puntan Sabaneta, to pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers and civilians who jumped off the rocky cliff during World War II rather than surrender to U.S. forces. Six decades after the war, Akihito made the first trip by a Japanese monarch to an overseas World War II battlefield. He paid tribute to the 55,000 Japanese killed on the Pacific island of Saipan, and offered prayers and flowers at memorials for thousands of Americans and islanders. (Eriko Sugita/Pool Photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this June 28, 2005, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bow their heads in silent prayers at Saipan's Banzai Cliff, or Puntan Sabaneta, to pay tribute to the Japanese soldiers and civilians who jumped off the rocky cliff during World War II rather than surrender to U.S. forces. Six decades after the war, Akihito made the first trip by a Japanese monarch to an overseas World War II battlefield. He paid tribute to the 55,000 Japanese killed on the Pacific island of Saipan, and offered prayers and flowers at memorials for thousands of Americans and islanders. (Eriko Sugita/Pool Photo via AP, File) Associated Press

  • FILE - In this April 9, 2015, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, left, bow toward Angaur island, seen in the background, after they offered flowers at the cenotaph on Pelelilu island in Palau. Seven decades after the war, Akihito and his wife Michiko laid bouquets of white chrysanthemums, Japan's Imperial symbol, in front of a memorial for Japanese victims who died in the battle of Peleliu in the Pacific island nation of Palau. The couple later prayed at a separate memorial for Americans. (Kyodo News via AP, File) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    FILE - In this April 9, 2015, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, left, bow toward Angaur island, seen in the background, after they offered flowers at the cenotaph on Pelelilu island in Palau. Seven decades after the war, Akihito and his wife Michiko laid bouquets of white chrysanthemums, Japan's Imperial symbol, in front of a memorial for Japanese victims who died in the battle of Peleliu in the Pacific island nation of Palau. The couple later prayed at a separate memorial for Americans. (Kyodo News via AP, File) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT Associated Press

 
 
Posted1/27/2016 7:00 AM

TOKYO -- A visit by Japanese Emperor Akihito to the Philippines this week is the latest in a series of trips that are seen as an attempt to show his commitment to peace and remorse for World War II, a conflict Japan fought in the name of his father, Hirohito.

The current emperor has repeatedly expressed regret for the damage caused by the war, but has never offered a straightforward apology. The furthest he has gone is to express "deep" remorse in an address last year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the fighting.

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A look at his past World War II-related visits, from his statements of remorse to the hostility he faced in Britain and Okinawa.

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OKINAWA, JULY 1975 - Akihito, then crown prince, visited Okinawa on behalf of his father Emperor Hirohito, who reigned until January 1989. Akihito's visit 30 years after the bloody Battle of Okinawa came when residents' anger toward the Japanese government and its war responsibility was still strong. A protester threw a Molotov cocktail at Akihito when he and Empress Michiko visited a war memorial; the couple was unhurt.

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THAILAND, MALAYSIA, INDONESIA, SEPTEMBER 1991 - Two years after becoming emperor, Akihito's first foreign destination was Southeast Asia. During state banquets in each country, he noted Japan's postwar effort to build new friendships with the countries based on a commitment "never again to repeat the tragedy of the horrors of the unfortunate war, and to live as a peace-loving nation."

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CHINA, OCTOBER 1992 - The Japanese government saw Akihito's visit to China as an opportunity to heal wounds left by Japan's wartime aggression. He offered what was then the strongest imperial statement of remorse over the war, though stopped short of apologizing. "In the long history of relationships between our two countries, there was an unfortunate period in which my country inflicted great suffering on the people of China. To this I feel deep sadness," he said.

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GREAT BRITAIN, MAY 1998 - Akihito repeatedly encountered jeering by former prisoners of war and civilian internees protesting their harsh treatment by the Japanese military. The POWs demanded a formal apology and turned their backs on the emperor as he was taken by Queen Elizabeth along The Mall to Buckingham Palace. Akihito said ahead of the visit that he believed "it is important to put oneself in the position of others and strive to have a full sense of the pain in their hearts." In London, he said the great suffering of many people caused by the war is an "unforgettable memory" for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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SAIPAN, JUNE 2005 - Six decades after the war, Akihito made the first trip by a Japanese monarch to an overseas World War II battlefield. He paid tribute to the 55,000 Japanese killed on the Pacific island of Saipan, and offered prayers and flowers at memorials for thousands of Americans and islanders. Akihito also prayed for the first time for Koreans forced to fight for Japan. Korea was a Japanese colony at the time. The fall of Saipan was a turning point in the war.

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PALAU, APRIL 2015 - Seven decades after the war, Akihito and his wife Michiko laid bouquets of white chrysanthemums, Japan's Imperial symbol, in front of a memorial for Japanese victims who died in the battle of Peleliu in the Pacific island nation of Palau. The couple later prayed at a separate memorial for Americans. At a state banquet, Akihito said it was "truly painful" that the battles caused casualties among the islanders and thanked residents for helping recover the remains of Japanese war-dead. Many Japanese are still unaccounted for in the Pacific.

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