S Korea seeks ban on disputed Japan flag

SEOUL: A controversial flag became the latest sticking point in an intensifying dispute between South Korea and Japan today as Seoul asked the International Olympics Committee to ban its use at the Tokyo Games next year.

laxmi@tribune.com

Seoul, September 11 

A controversial flag became the latest sticking point in an intensifying dispute between South Korea and Japan today as Seoul asked the International Olympics Committee to ban its use at the Tokyo Games next year.

The ‘Rising Sun’ flag has been an ensign for Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Forces since 1954, but in much of East Asia, it is seen as a symbol of the country’s military aggression during World War II.

But last week, Tokyo’s Games organisers dismissed the claims that the emblem is a political statement and said they will allow the flag at the Olympics.

That caused an uproar in South Korea, prompting it to lodge a formal complaint to the IOC. World football’s governing body FIFA has already banned the flag’s use.

“We explained the history behind the flag and demanded it be banned during the Olympics,” Seoul’s sports ministry said in a statement.

The flag was a “clear political symbol” that stirs up painful memories of Japan’s wartime atrocities. — AFP

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