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South Korea announced Tuesday it will not seek to renegotiate the 2015 landmark deal with Japan on the “comfort women” issue but at the same time indirectly urged Japan to extend a fresh “voluntary, heart-felt apology” for the victims forced to work at Japanese military brothels before and during World War II.

The announcement immediately drew strong protests from Tokyo. Under the 2015 deal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already expressed “his most sincere apologies and remorse” to all the former comfort women and Japan provided ¥1 billion to South Korean fund for victims, although Tokyo has denied any legal responsibility for compensation.

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