Japanese Prime MInister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech to the US Congress. (AAP)
Shinzo Abe has become the first Japanese prime minister in history to address a joint meeting of the US Congress, seeking to deepen ties in the face of controversy over his views of World War II.
Speaking in English, Abe on Wednesday stressed the tight bonds between two nations that were forged from the embers of brutal battles like Pearl Harbour and Iwo Jima, and offered a heartfelt apology for Japan's actions.
"On behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II," he said to rousing applause from US MPs.
Shortly before arriving on Capitol Hill, Abe symbolically laid a flower wreath at a memorial to that conflict, which claimed the lives of an estimated 400,000 Americans.
"The battles engraved at the memorial crossed my mind, and I reflected upon the lost dreams and lost futures of those young Americans.
"History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone. With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in silent prayers for some time," Abe said.
But it was Japan's actions in Asia during that war that threatened to overshadow his historic address.
In Congress, Abe was faced with the presence of 87-year-old Lee Yong-Soo, one of the estimated 200,000 Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery by occupying Japanese troops.
She was invited by US politician Mike Honda who is one of many that accuse Abe of downplaying any official role by the country or its military.
Abe expressed his "deep remorse" over Japan's actions toward neighbouring Asian nations, but stopped short of a full apology demanded by many.
"Post war, we started out on our path bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war," he told the joint meeting.
"Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. We must not avert our eyes from that."
众议院民主党党鞭霍耶（Rep. Steny Hoyer）认为希望的同盟这个提法非常好。他说：“这是一个很棒的提法，它总结了美国和日本携手可以和我们在自由世界的盟友一起达成什么样的目标。“
共和党议员罗拉巴克（Rep. Dana Rohrabacher）也给予高度评价。他说：“作为里根总统当时的演讲稿作者，我要给他这篇演讲一个最高分数 。他很真诚，谈到了很多重要问题。他为两国打开了新的大门。”
民主党议员霍耶（Rep. Steny Hoyer）认为安倍首相应该借此机会道歉：“他没有在讲话中道歉，不过我认为应该这么做。道歉能够显示力量而不是软弱。”
不过共和党众议员沃马克（Rep. Steve Womack）不认为安倍有必要道歉。他说：“ 我不会期待他为我出生很久以前的事情道歉。我今年58岁了，我是一个向前看而不是向后看的人。”