German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Moscow Sunday to remember war victims as Russia continues to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War, Russia's term for World War II.[Special coverage]
Though not present at the military parade at Red Square on Saturday -- the largest since the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991 -- the German leader laid wreaths on the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers at Red Square with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Merkel also attended events in Moscow to mark the 65th anniversary five year ago.
The chancellor's actions reflect her nation's acknowledgement of the role it played in one of the darkest chapters in human history, setting an example for Japan, which is also a former fascist power.
A WREATH FROM ABE?
In speeches he gave to the U.S. Congress and the Asian-African Summit in Indonesia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed "deep remorse" over WWII but stopped short of issuing an apology, drawing ire from neighbors, including China and the Republic of Korea.
With China's own WWII commemorations in the near future, the world is watching closely and wondering whether Abe make any attempt to reconcile with Japan's victim nations.
Such moves are important because most Japanese leaders have not yet reflected or apologized for wartime aggression, especially not to the extent that Germany has for the Holocaust.
Observers say that Japan can only secure the trust of its neighbors by being honest about history.
A similar message was conveyed by Merkel when she was in Japan in March. She said that "facing history squarely" and "generous gestures" were necessary to mend ties.
China's events to mark the victory of WWII are not aimed to fan the flames of animosity but rather to remember history and those that died in the war, as well as to celebrate peace and look forward to the future.
When asked whether Beijing would invite Japanese leaders to its commemorative events in March, Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister and a former Chinese envoy to Japan, said China welcomed "anyone who was sincere about coming."