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South Korea hopes a high-level visit to Tokyo next week will kick-start talks aimed at a breakthrough in historical disputes despite concerns the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could disrupt efforts to mend ties, Seoul officials said.

Relations between the two U.S. allies have been strained over disputes dating to Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Washington has been pressing Tokyo and Seoul to mend fences in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat and the rising influence of China.

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