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New documents reveal Japanese wartime emperor’s ‘deep regrets’

Hirohito was advised not to use the word ‘remorse’ in a 1952 speech over the conflict, the papers show.

Emperor Hirohito, pictured in 1940 (Kyodo/AP)
Emperor Hirohito, pictured in 1940 (Kyodo/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Newly unearthed documents have revealed that former Japanese emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about the Second World War and tried, unsuccessfully, to express his feelings by using the word “remorse” in a 1952 speech.

The records of conversations with Hirohito spanning several years were kept by Michiji Tajima, a top Imperial Household Agency official who took office after the war.

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Journals and notebooks kept by Michiji Tajima, a former top Imperial Household Agency, in Tokyo (Kyodo/AP)

Japan’s NHK television obtained 18 notebooks through Mr Tajima’s family, and aired a special programme last weekend.

Although it is not surprising Hirohito had deep regrets about the war, the documents highlight how strong his emotions had been.

NHK said at one point Hirohito insisted he must include the word “remorse” in his speech, but the prime minister advised against it.

The Japanese Imperial Household Agency has declined to comment on the report.

PA

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