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Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, moving to quiet an international storm over his remark that Japan may not have been the aggressor in World War II, apologized and reversed his statement in parliament Monday.

"I feel sorry for having invited criticism from foreign countries," Takeshita said in answer to a question from an opposition party member in the Diet, or parliament, Budget Committee meeting. "I could not express myself satisfactorily."Takeshita told the Diet on Feb. 18 that it was "the historian's task in later ages to form a conclusion whether it was or was not a war of aggression."