The government has lodged a protest with South Korea after its navy hoisted a flag during Thursday’s international fleet review symbolizing a 16th century Korean naval commander who fought off attacks from Japan.
South Korea had requested that countries taking part in the event ensure their warships do not fly flags other than their own or South Korea’s national flag.
“South Korea violated the policy it had set,” a senior official of the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday.
A South Korean warship hoisted a flag symbolizing Adm. Yi Sun-sin, who is renowned in the country for his victories over invasions launched by Japanese ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the late 16th century.
Through a diplomatic channel, Tokyo told Seoul the act was extremely regrettable.
Japan initially planned to send a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship to the fleet review, but the plan was scrapped after South Korea asked the MSDF not to fly the Rising Sun flag, which is regarded in South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.
Seven countries that took part in the event showed flags other than their own or South Korean flags. Those countries were Russia, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Thailand, Brunei and India, informed sources said.