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Japan-South Korea rift

South Korea park cancels ceremony for statue resembling Abe

Head of botanical gardens says bilateral dispute led to scrapping of event

A statue of a man bowing in front of a figure depicting a wartime comfort woman victim is seen at the Korea Botanic Garden in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The operator of the park says the statue is not necessarily meant to depict Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.   © EPA/Yonhap/Jiji

SEOUL -- A botanical garden in South Korea canceled the opening ceremony for a statue that shows a man resembling Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kneeling and bowing to a girl symbolizing wartime "comfort women."

Kim Chang-yeol, head of Korea Botanic Garden in Pyeongchang -- host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics -- said Wednesday that he decided to scrap the ceremony scheduled for Aug. 11, citing the dispute between the two countries over the statue, titled "Eternal Atonement."

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