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Japan not budging on flag dispute: Korean ministry

The Japanese government is maintaining its plan to fly the controversial Rising Sun flag during an upcoming navy event in South Korea, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.   

Japan's Self-Defense Forces will send a warship to the International Fleet Review to be held at a military port on Jeju Island next week.



    At issue is its plan to hoist the flag, which South Koreans regard as a symbol of Japan's imperialistic past.

    The matter has caused another diplomatic stand-off between two neighboring countries that have long been dogged by historical and territorial rows.

    Korea was under brutal Japanese occupation from 1910-1945.  Seoul believes Japan has yet to atone for its wrongdoings.

    South Korea has invited warships from Japan and 13 other nations to join the Jeju event, requesting that they all fly their own national flags as well as South Korea's national flag, or the Taegeukki.

    "As you know, we have asked (Japan) via a diplomatic channel to take public sentiment (in South Korea) into account. As far as I know, there's been no change in the position of the two sides since then," Noh Kyu-duk, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing.

    Last month, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters that his country will raise the Rising Sun flag in accordance with domestic law and international rules.

    A government source said a Japanese naval ship may arrive at the Jeju port with the flag flying but use its national flag during the fleet review in a bid to avoid further diplomatic clashes. (Yonhap)