South Korea's National Assembly adopted a resolution Monday urging Japan to ban the use of its imperial-era flag during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The statement calls on the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to ban spectators from carrying the Rising Sun Flag or wearing uniforms that feature its image at the Games. Koreans view the flag as a symbol of Japan's militarism in the first half of the 20th century.
The resolution, approved in a 196-3 vote, also calls on the Moon Jae-in government to actively engage with the international community to raise awareness of the flag's imperialistic connotations and make diplomatic efforts to prevent its use at all official international events and competitions.
The issue of the old Japanese flag came to the fore in Seoul after a local media outlet reported early this month that the organizing committee has no plan to restrict public use of the flag during the Olympics, saying that the flag is already a widely used item in Japan.
Seoul's foreign ministry issued a statement earlier this month urging Tokyo to retract its stance, arguing that use of the flag would turn a sporting event into a tool for political messaging.
Officials from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee visited Tokyo in late August and met with their Japanese counterparts to lodge a complaint and demand a reversal of its position. Tokyo apparently refused to give a definite answer. (Yonhap)