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With Abe gone, security row could further deepen Tokyo-Seoul rift

Unresolved dispute over radar is more serious diplomatic risk than wartime labor

Japan accuses South Korea's Gwanggaeto-daewang destroyer of pointing its fire-control radar at a Japanese patrol aircraft in 2018.

TOKYO -- The name Shinzo Abe provokes complicated and emotionally charged reactions in South Korea. Abe, one of the best-known foreign politicians in the country, has been widely viewed by South Korean politicians and media as a quintessential symbol of Japan's political right. The death of the former Japanese prime minister, who has more or less defined Tokyo's diplomacy toward Seoul, is likely to have multifarious effects on the bilateral relationship in the coming years.

A conservative doyen close to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Abe convinced many Japanese politicians to stand firm on Japan's positions concerning bilateral issues with South Korea. But the political heavyweight also pointed out that Abe's nod quickly settled issues, as no other members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party could object to his decisions.

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