The former Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
The former Japanese Emperor Hirohito.

Documents reveal Hirohito wartime regrets

NEWLY-UNEARTHED documents have revealed that former Japanese emperor Hirohito repeatedly felt sorry about the Second World War.

They also reveal he 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.

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.