South Korea calls on Japan to reconsider allowing use of imperial flag during Tokyo Olympics

Kim In-chul speaks during a press briefing in Seoul on April 23, 2019 (Yonhap)

Kim In-chul speaks during a press briefing in Seoul on April 23, 2019 (Yonhap)

Seoul: South Korea on Tuesday called on Japan to retract its stance to effectively allow the use of its old imperial flag, seen as a symbol of its past militarism, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A local media outlet reported that the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said it would not prevent spectators from wearing uniforms imprinted with the Rising Sun Flag, or from bringing such flags when cheering at events, citing that it is already a widely used item in the country.

“Japan must well be aware that the Rising Sun Flag is perceived by many of its neighboring nations as the symbol of its past militarism and imperialism. It needs to humbly face that history,” foreign ministry spokesman Kim In-chul told a press briefing.

“(The government) will work with related ministries to correct the matter,” he added.

It also violates ethical codes to use a sporting event as a tool for political messaging, a ministry official said.

Officials from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee visited Tokyo late last month and met with their Japanese counterparts to lodge a complaint and demand a reversal of its position. Tokyo apparently refused to give a definite answer.

As part of efforts to address the issue, South Korea’s parliamentary committee for culture, sports and tourism approved a motion last week urging Tokyo to ban the use of the flag during the Olympics.



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