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Japan's prime minister expressed "deep remorse" over his country's World War II aggression against Asian neighbors in a speech today at the Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta -- a move aimed at defusing Tokyo's growing tensions with China.

"In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering for the people of many countries, particularly those of Asian nations," Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said at the opening ceremony of the gathering in Jakarta. "Japan squarely faces these facts of history in a spirit of humility."

Japan has sought a one-on-one meeting between Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Jakarta, and Koizumi told reporters today that he might meet Hu on Saturday, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported. China said it was still considering the proposal.

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