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A deepening feud between Japan and South Korea has threatened to undercut next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, as the two sides sparred over whether spectators could wave Rising Sun flags associated with Japan’s militarist past.

New Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto — one of the country’s best-known Olympians — on Thursday rejected South Korea’s call to ban the flag as political propaganda. “On the issue of whether the Rising Sun flag conveys a political message, I don’t see it that way at all,” she said.

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