Japan to be absent from fleet review in S. Korea over flag issue
Jiji -- Oct 06
Japan will not send any Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to an international fleet review to be held in South Korea on Thursday, due to a South Korean request not to display the MSDF's rising sun flag during the event, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Friday.

The South Korean request reflects antipathy among the country's public toward the flag, which features a rising sun with sun rays, the same design as that for the now-defunct Imperial Japanese military's flag.

As the Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule in 1910-1945, the flag is regarded as a symbol of its past militarism by South Koreans. In South Korea, a law revision to ban the use of the flag in the country was submitted to its parliament on Tuesday.

The flag row is hitting the Japan-South Korea relationship as the two countries mark the 20th anniversary this month of the 1998 joint declaration on their 21st-century partnership being adopted by then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

According to Defense Ministry officials, Japan received South Korea's invitation to the fleet review in October last year, and the MSDF had been considering sending a destroyer to the event.

News source: Jiji
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