KAWASAKI – Kawasaki Frontale revealed Monday they will take measures to urge their fans to not fly a controversial wartime flag when they host Hong Kong’s Eastern SC on Tuesday in the Asian Champions League.
Frontale were fined $15,000 and placed on one-year probation by the Asian Football Confederation last Thursday after two spectators raised the 16-ray rising sun flag on April 25 during a 1-0 away win to South Korean team Suwon Bluewings.
Frontale said they will request their fans not display the flag or any other potentially controversial symbols if any such items are discovered during security checks at Todoroki Stadium.
The AFC said Kawasaki will automatically be forced to play one game in front of an empty stadium and be subject to more severe punishment if the flag reappears during the probationary period.
Kawasaki maintains the flag, used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II and still flown by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, carries no political or discriminatory intent. The view is shared by the J. League and the Japan Football Association.
The flag is considered a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression in many Asian countries, including South Korea and China.