New documents show Japan’s wartime emperor had deep regrets

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s NHK television has obtained documents showing former emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about World War II 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.

NHK obtained 18 notebooks through Tajima’s family and aired a special program last weekend.

Although it’s not surprising Hirohito had deep regrets about the war, the documents highlight how painfully strong such 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 Imperial Household Agency on Tuesday declined to comment on the report.

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