SKorea removes banners at Olympic village after IOC ruling

Jul 16, 2021, 11:36 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2021, 6:40 am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s Olympic committee said Saturday it removed banners at the Olympic athletes’ village in Tokyo that referred to a 16th-century war between Korea and Japan after the International Olympic Committee ruled they were provocative.

In agreeing to take down the banners, the South Koreans said they received a promise from the IOC that the displaying of the Japanese “rising sun” flag will be banned at stadiums and other Olympic venues. The flag, portraying a red sun with 16 rays extending outward, is resented by many people in South Korea and other parts of Asia who see it as a symbol of Japan’s wartime past.

The South Korean banners, which drew protests from some Japanese far-right groups, had been hung at the balconies of South Korean athletes’ rooms and collectively spelled out a message that read: “I still have the support of 50 million Korean people.”

This borrowed from the famous words of 16th-century Korean naval admiral Yi Sun-sin, who according to historical lore told King Seonjo of Korea’s Joseon Kingdom “I still have 12 battleships left” before pulling off a crucial victory against a larger Japanese fleet during the 1592-1598 Japanese invasions of Korea.

South Korea’s Olympic Committee said it was told by the IOC that the banners invoked images of war and went against Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which says “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

The committee said it agreed to remove the banners after the IOC promised to also apply the same rules to the rising sun flags and ban them at all Olympic venues.

“Under the agreement, the committee will not raise any further debate to allow athletes to fully focus on competition, while the IOC will ban the displaying of the rising sun flag at all Olympic venues so that no political problems would arise,” the South Korean committee said in a statement.

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of Tokyo’s organizing committee, said the IOC thought the South Korean banners were “not appropriate” and asked them to be taken down.

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee, acknowledged there “may be many ways of thinking” over the issue.

“If the message is regarded as political, it goes against the message of the Olympics and the Paralympics to bring the world together as one,” she said.

The Japanese officials made no comments about the South Korean announcement that the IOC also banned the rising sun flag at the games.

South Korea in 2019 had first formally asked the IOC to ban the rising sun flag at the Olympics, comparing it to the Nazi swastika. South Korean Olympic officials then said Tokyo’s organizing committee rejected their demands for the flag to be banned, saying it was widely used in Japan and was not considered a political statement.

Many South Koreans still harbor animosity over Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, and the countries have seen their relations sink to new post-war lows in recent years with disputes over history, trade and military cooperation.

The countries have been trying to improve relations since the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden, who has called for stronger three-way cooperation with the traditional U.S. allies in the face of the North Korean nuclear threats and challenges posed by China. But progress has been slow.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi to protest remarks made by another senior Japanese diplomat who, according to a local broadcaster, used lewd language to ridicule South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to improve bilateral ties while meeting with its reporters.

The countries had been discussing the possibility of Moon visiting Tokyo to participate in the Olympics’ opening ceremony and having talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga over improving relations.

___

AP writer Yuri Kageyama contributed to the story from Tokyo.

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shohei Ohtani, left, of Los Angeles Angels, and Japan's manager Hideki Kuriyama, right, pose togeth...
Associated Press

Ohtani set for WBC in Japan, but Angels future uncertain

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although Shohei Ohtani’s long-term future with the Los Angeles Angels is decidedly uncertain as he heads into the final season under contract, the two-way superstar’s plans for the spring are all set. Ohtani will make one start on the Cactus League mound this month for the Angels before he heads to […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach speaks after the NFL AFC Championship playoff footba...
Associated Press

Super Bowl-bound Chiefs are built around Patrick Mahomes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are built around their half-billion dollar All-Pro quarterback, and for the past five years, Super Bowl-bound Patrick Mahomes has made everyone else around him all the more valuable. He’s taken marginal wide receivers and turned them into stars. Mediocre offensive linemen became stalwarts. Finishing the second […]
2 days ago
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks before the NHL All-Star hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, i...
Associated Press

Gary Bettman defends NHL handling of Pride night situations

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at his state of the game news conference Saturday at All-Star Weekend defended the way the league and two teams handled situations that arose regarding Pride night celebrations. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not take part in warmups Jan. 18 because he refused to wear a […]
2 days ago
Atlantic Division's Matthew Tkachuk, of the Florida Panthers (19) and Metropolitan Division's Brock...
Associated Press

NHL All-Star Game final matchup: Central vs Atlantic

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Central Division and the Atlantic Division have reached the final of the NHL All-Star Game. One of them will actually win the thing. Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk had three goals and two assists — his five points tying a single-game record for the 3-on-3 All-Star format — in the Atlantic’s 10-6 […]
2 days ago
FILE - Texas sports editor, Denne Freeman listens to University of Texas Safety Stanley Richard dur...
Associated Press

Former AP sports writer Denne H. Freeman dies at 86

DALLAS (AP) — Retired longtime Associated Press sports writer Denne H. Freeman, whose 32 years with the AP included covering all five Super Bowl championships won by the Dallas Cowboys and many golf majors, has died after a series of health issues. He was 86. Freeman’s family said he died Friday night at a Plano […]
2 days ago
FILE - Allegiant Stadium is shown during the second half of the Pro Bowl NFL football game between ...
Associated Press

NFL infuses Pro Bowl with points system, flag football

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NFL finally stopped pretending its all-star game was an actual game, and is breathing life into the exhibition with Sunday’s Pro Bowl Games. There will be no tackle football played for the first time — not that there was much tackling in recent years, more like two-hand touch. Flag football […]
2 days ago
SKorea removes banners at Olympic village after IOC ruling