SEOUL – South Korea has asked the International Olympic Committee to bar Japan from using the “Rising Sun” flag at next year’s Games, Seoul’s sports ministry said on Wednesday, as the Asian neighbours engage in an ever more rancorous feud over history and trade.
Relations between the neighbours are arguably at their lowest ebb since they normalised ties in 1965, strained over the issue of South Korean forced labour during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation.
South Korea’s sports ministry said it sent a letter to the IOC on Wednesday to express its “disappointment” over Tokyo’s organising committee’s decision to allow the flag to be displayed at Olympic venues and call for action to thwart the move.
The ministry said the flag defies the peaceful spirit of the Olympics as it was a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past that reminds Asian countries of “historical wounds and pains,” and it likened it to the swastika used in Nazi Germany.
The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday confirmed it had received the letter.