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200 Japanese protest South Korea, Japan agreement on wartime sex slaves

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Some 200 Japanese nationalists lashed out today at an agreement to settle a dispute with South Korea about wartime sex slaves, with some calling on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to kill himself in shame.

Japan yesterday offered a “heartfelt apology” and a one-billion yen (USD 8.3 million) payment to surviving South Korean “comfort women” forced into Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Abe, himself a nationalist who came to power three years ago vowing to revitalise Japan’s economy and revise its war-renouncing constitution, has praised the agreement as heralding a “new era” for relations.

Ties between Tokyo and Seoul have long been soured by the sex slave issue, a legacy of Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula and of World War II.

Some on Japan’s conservative far right have long said the country has nothing to apologise for and have questioned the accounts of the surviving comfort women, suggesting they were prostitutes and not coerced.

Demonstrators, mostly in their 60s or older, sang “Kimigayo,” the national anthem which is an ode to Japan’s emperor, and carried red and white national flags.

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