Jul 17, 2021 - Sports

South Korea removes banners at Olympic village ruled provocative by IOC

Members of South Korea's Olympic basketball team
South Korea's players celebrate their victory after the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying basketball match between Great Britain and South Korea, on February 8, 2020, in Belgrade. Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

South Korea's Olympic committee said Saturday that it removed banners at the Olympic Village in Tokyo that referred to a 16th century war between Korea and Japan, which the International Olympic Committee deemed provocative, AP reports.

The big picture: In removing the banners, the South Korean officials said they received a promise from the IOC that the displaying of the Japanese “rising sun” flag will also be banned at stadiums and other Olympic venues, per AP.

  • The Japanese "rising sun" flag is resented by some in South Korea who see it as a symbol of Japan's wartime past.
  • The South Korean banners — which spelled out a message that read, "I still have the support of 50 million Korean people" — drew protests from some Japanese far-right groups.
  • The IOC reportedly told South Korea's Olympic committee that the banners 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."

What they're saying: "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, per AP.

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