Is it correct to view these as referring to the past actions of the speakers?

So, for example, the speaker makes a blunder and then realises this and says/thinks 「これはしまった」(Which I think is short for これはしまったことをした) Or someone does something rude then says これは失礼しました In both of these cases does the これ refer to the past actions of the speaker?


No, not exactly.

In those phrases, 「これ」 refers to the occasion in which a non-positive action took place, not the action itself.

This is why we say 「この[度]{たび}は」= "(on) this occasion" instead of 「これは」 in formal speech.

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