Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued to test Japan's already strained relations with Korea and China with remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this week.
Abe again defended his December visit to Yasukuni War Shrine, which honors the country's war dead including several Class-A war criminals.
In an apparent attempt to calm regional tensions, the United States is reportedly reaching out to the Japanese leader.
According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials will ask Prime Minister Abe to consider reaffirming Tokyo's previous formal apologies over World War II.
Japan made formal apologies back in 1993 and 1995 for its war crimes and acknowledged that its military forced Asian women into sexual slavery during the war.
The U.S. officials will also ask the prime minister to refrain from making further comments he knows will offend Japan's neighbors, and reach out to Korea specifically.
Though Japan has yet to respond to the U.S. request, foreign media outlets expect the two countries to speed up diplomatic efforts ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Asia in April.
Some pundits say Abe may now show some restraint because he believes he has proved himself a national leader by visiting the war shrine in December.
But others say that given his high approval rating, he may continue with his ultra-nationalistic ways.
Paul Yi, Arirang News
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