Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apparently bowed in apology to China for atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers during World War Two. However, not all is as it seems.

A very realistic Abe robot has appeared at the China International Robot Show in Shanghai, offering a stiff smile and unlimited bows to onlookers, many of whom took selfies with it and shared pictures on social media. Many netizens presumed Abe’s gesture was political and others questioned whether the manufacturer should ridicule the leader of a neighbouring country in such a way.

“If the Japanese did this to Chinese leaders, would you accept it?” asked one user on Weibo, China’s Twitter. However, another user said: “If the Americans can make a movie to ridicule Kim Jong-un, why can’t we make a robot to ridicule Shinzo Abe?”

Photo: Weibo
Photo: Weibo
Photo: Weibo
Photo: Weibo.

China is set to hold a major military parade on September 3 to mark the 70th anniversary of the allied victory over Japan in World War Two. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on Friday that President Xi Jinping has invited Abe to watch the parade in person. However, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said a press conference on Monday Abe has not received such an invitation.

Japanese media earlier said Abe is unlikely to apologise for Japan’s war crimes in his speech marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.