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Seoul cancels permit for new Japanese embassy building over ‘construction delays’

Authorities in Seoul have cancelled the permit for a new Japanese embassy building citing construction delays, local officials said Wednesday. The relations between South Korea and Japan are strained by historical disputes. A statue of a “comfort woman” symbolizing the Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels mostly during World War II stands across the road from the embassy plot. The previous embassy building was demolished some years ago, with staff moving into offices in the neighboring high-rises, and the plot is now a patch of bare earth behind a high wall, AFP said. City authorities gave permission for a new building in 2015. But construction was repeatedly delayed. Japan argues that the “comfort woman” statue is against the 2015 bilateral agreement, under which Tokyo offered an apology and compensation.