Already, there are signs Abe is calibrating his comments ahead of the U.S. visit.
In an interview with the Washington Post last week, Abe said "comfort women" had been "victimized by human trafficking", a contrast with the stance of Japanese ultra-conservatives who have argued many were prostitutes. Abe did not, however, say who was responsible for the trafficking.
Abe's conservative political allies want him to end what they see as an endless cycle of apologies that they believe distracts from Japan's record since 1945 as a peaceful nation.
"I know there are people, and countries, who are making an issue of whether certain words are there or not," Yoshitaka Shindo, a former member of Abe's cabinet, told Reuters.
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"To repeat that over and over for political purposes – I don't think we have to consider that because Japan is a country that has not gone to war even once during the last 70 years. That is something we must say."
Abe's critics, however, say the prime minister must lay to rest doubts about his view of wartime history that he himself has sparked.
"He must erase those doubts and the simplest way to do so is to uphold the Murayama Statement unchanged," the 78-year-old Kono told Reuters in an interview last month.
Japan's chilly ties with China and South Korea, long plagued by history as well as territorial rows, have shown signs of a thaw, most recently when foreign ministers from the three countries agreed a leaders' summit should be held soon.
But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear that much of the outlook for improvement depended on Japan proving it was serious about acknowledging its wartime past. A spokesman for South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Abe's statement should include "comments that reflect a correct perception of history".
Washington is keen to see better ties between Seoul and Tokyo, its two key Asian allies, but may not worry so much about complaints from Beijing, some U.S. experts said.
"There is already a reaction setting in the United States that the Chinese are just hopping on this to score political points," said another U.S.-based expert.
"My guess is that he will probably say enough so that America won't get that upset. Then I think he's ok even if China and South Korea give him a hard time, it will be contained."