Seoul Threatens to Boycott Olympics over Territory Dispute

South Korea has threatened to boycott the Tokyo Olympic Games after a group of disputed islets was marked as part of Japan’s territory in the official map posted on the Tokyo Games website.

The Korea-controlled Dokdo islets, claimed by Japan as Takeshima, are indicated with a barely discernible dot on the official map of the Olympic torch relay route on the International Olympic Committee’s website.

“Dokdo is South Korean territory and political neutrality must be guaranteed at the Games. Japan’s behavior can be seen as political action, so we have sent the letter as we believe such action runs counter to the Olympic spirit,” said Kim Bo-young, public relations director of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC).

South Korea filed a complaint and appealed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to pressure Japan to remove the reference to the South Korea-controlled islands as Japanese territory.

Japan rejected South Korea’s protests

“Takeshima is a territory inherent to Japan in view of historical facts and international laws. We cannot accept South Korea’s protest at all,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.

South Korea and Japan had previously argued on the same issue during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea when a flag depicting a unified Korean peninsula includes the disputed islands. 

The IOC refused to intervene, making no request yet to Japan after South Korea’s appeal to them, and referring to Japan’s Olympics organizing committee when questioned by reporters.


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