October 01, 2018 11:11
In spite of protests from Seoul, a Japanese Navy ship is expected to join the International Fleet Review on Jeju Island later this month brandishing the rising-sun flag that symbolizes the country's imperial aggression during World War II.
The Korean Navy has asked Japan to use the modern Japanese flag instead along with Korea's national flag, but Tokyo called the demand "illogical and rude."
The Imperial Japanese military used the rising-sun flag as its emblem during World War II, when Japan invaded its Asian neighbors, giving it much the same associations as the Nazi swastika in the region.
But it remains the official flag of the Japanese Navy, though ground forces use a slightly altered version that looks like a flattened piece of origami.
Japanese warships also flew the rising-sun flag during fleet reviews in Korea in 1998 and 2008.
The Korean Navy asked 14 participating countries to fly both their own flag and the Korean national flag, and the Foreign Ministry sent an official letter to Japan to that effect. But Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Friday, "Raising the rising-sun flag is mandatory under our laws."
A high-ranking Japanese Navy officer said, "We cannot accept the request, which does not make sense and is offensive," according to Japan's Sankei Shimbun daily.
Korean public opinion is turning hostile. The Bareun Future Party said it is Japan that is behaving illogically and offensively. Scores of people have complained on the Cheong Wa Dae website.
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