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Japan-South Korea rift

Japan says South Korea kneeling statue 'unacceptable' if it's Abe

Top spokesman says move will have 'decisive effect' on ties

A statue of a girl symbolizing wartime "comfort women" with another one of a man kneeling before it is shown on the grounds of the Korea Botanic Garden in Pyeongchang. (Photo courtesy of the Korea Botanic Garden/Jiji)

TOKYO/SEOUL -- Japan's top government spokesman on Tuesday strongly criticized a recently installed statue in South Korea that shows a man resembling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his knees and bowing to a girl symbolizing wartime "comfort women."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that if media reports about the statue -- that it depicts Abe -- are true it would be "unacceptable in terms of international courtesy" and would have a "decisive effect" on the relationship between Japan and South Korea.

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