South Korea Takes 'Rising Sun' Flag Issue to IOC

(ATR) South Korea considers the flag a symbol of Japanese colonial aggression.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 15: South Koreans hold Japanese rising sun flags during a rally to mark the 74th National Liberation Day in front of Japanese embassy on August 15, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea marked its 74th National Liberation Day, which celebrates its independence from Japanese colonial rule following the end of World War II after Japan surrendered between August 14 and 15 in 1945. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 15: South Koreans hold Japanese rising sun flags during a rally to mark the 74th National Liberation Day in front of Japanese embassy on August 15, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea marked its 74th National Liberation Day, which celebrates its independence from Japanese colonial rule following the end of World War II after Japan surrendered between August 14 and 15 in 1945. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

(ATR) South Korea requests that the IOC ban the Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

South Korea deems the flag a symbol of Japan’s wartime past during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

A letter was sent to IOC President Thomas Bach by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to express their concern over Japan’s use of the flag in stadiums and other venues during the Olympics.

The ministry mentions that FIFA, the governing body of world football, has placed a ban on the flag for international matches.

In the ministry’s letter to the IOC, South Korea compares the flag to the Nazi swastika. The ministry highlights how the ‘rising sun’ flag serves as a recollection of historic pain for the people of South Korea, China, and other Asian countries that experienced Japan’s wartime aggression.

The ministry also argues how the flag, a red sun with sixteen rays extending outwards, is a distinct political symbol that is used by Japanese right-wing protestors venting anger directed to Koreans and other foreigners.

"As the IOC has said from the outset of this discussion, sports stadiums should be free of any political demonstration," an IOC official tells Around the Rings, while confirming that the letter had been received.

"When concerns arise at Games time we look at them on a case by case basis."

Last month South Korean officials asked the Tokyo 2020 local organizing committee to place a ban on the flag. South Korean officials were told Tokyo organizers that the flag was not viewed as a prohibited item along with it not being considered a political statement.

Homepage photo: Getty Images

Written by Greer Wilson

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