Japan Destroyer to Raise Rising Sun Flag during S. Korea Visit


Tokyo, May 25 (Jiji Press)--Japan and South Korea are considering allowing a Japanese destroyer to raise the rising sun flag during a trip to South Korea for a multilateral exercise next week, Japanese government sources said Thursday.

Seoul had previously asked Tokyo not to raise the Self-Defense Forces flag, regarded in South Korea as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, but apparently changed course amid a recent improvement in bilateral relations.

The Maritime SDF's Hamagiri destroyer is scheduled to participate in the six-nation exercise, set for Wednesday in waters near South Korea's Jeju Island to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Hamagiri is expected to call at Busan Port on the sidelines of the exercise.

Naval vessels are required to fly an ensign indicating their nationality under international rules. Under an enforcement ordinance of the SDF law, the rising sun flag is designated as the SDF ensign.

While declining to comment on whether the Japanese destroyer will raise the rising sun flag during its visit to South Korea, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told a press conference Thursday that flying an ensign is an international practice.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press