Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Japan protests joint Korea flag


A supporter of the unified Korea women’s ice hockey team on Sunday waves a “unification flag” before a friendly against Sweden in Incheon, South Korea.

Photo: AFP

Japan yesterday said it had lodged a protest with South Korea over the “unacceptable” use of a unified Korean Olympic flag that features a set of disputed islands.

The two Koreas have agreed to march together under the unification flag — a pale blue silhouette of the Korean Peninsula — at the Games’ opening ceremony on Friday, and to form a combined women’s ice hockey team.

The flag shows a blue dot indicating islands controlled by South Korea, but claimed by Tokyo.

They are known as “Dokdo” in Korean and “Takeshima” in Japanese.

“The flag is unacceptable, based on our stance on our sovereignty of Takeshima,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters, adding that the incident with just days until the start of the Games was “extremely regrettable.”

“We lodged a protest strongly insisting on our stance through diplomatic channels to South Korea,” he said, adding that Tokyo would continue to urge Seoul to deal with the case “appropriately.”

The spat comes a month after Japan opened a museum in Tokyo devoted to the disputed islands, drawing an immediate protest from South Korea.

The museum, run by the Japanese government, also displays documents and photographs defending Japan’s claims over another set of islands disputed with China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to travel to South Korea for the opening ceremony of the Games, where he is expected to hold talks on Korean “comfort women” used by the Japanese as war-time sex slaves.

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