At the end of this month, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force frigates carrying the ‘Self-Defense Flag (Rising Sun Flag)’ are being coordinated to enter Busan Port to participate in multilateral exercises hosted by South Korea. Japanese media evaluated the move as a move backed by improved relations between Korea and Japan. In particular, one Self-Defense Force officer said, “It is international common sense to hoist the flags of each country, such as the Rising Sun Flag. Korea is back in the right direction,” he said.
Jiji News reported on the 26th that Defense Ministry spokesman Jeon Ha-kyu had expressed his position that it was “usual international practice” regarding the possibility that a Japanese warship might enter Korea carrying a self-defense flag.
The news agency analyzed that “Korea-Japan cooperation in the field of security has begun to normalize,” citing the coordination of the arrival of a frigate carrying the rising sun flag and the holding of the first Korea-Japan defense ministers’ meeting in four years next month.
In particular, the news agency said that in October 2018, the Moon Jae-in government regarded the rising sun flag as a symbol of Japanese militarism and urged to refrain from raising it. It was taken into account,” he explained.
He diagnosed that “the frozen relationship has improved”, citing the fact that three summit meetings were held between Korea and Japan since March of this year and that a solution to the issue of forced labor came out.
The Asahi Shimbun also analyzed that there was a “improving trend in bilateral relations” behind the arrangements for the arrival of the Self-Defense Force frigates carrying the Rising Sun Flag at Busan Port.
Jiji News reported that an official of the Ministry of Defense in relation to the radar investigation of the Self-Defense Force patrol planes, which is being discussed as one of the pending issues between Korea and Japan, showed a flexible attitude, saying, “The current issue is not irrelevant, but it is necessary to work as a defense authority amidst the great trend of improving relations.”
At a meeting between the defense ministers of South Korea and Japan in June, discussions will be held to resolve the issue of patrol aircraft radar investigations. The two countries are expected to exchange opinions to resolve this pending issue and speed up talks to share information on North Korea’s ballistic missiles with the US and Japan.
The Rising Sun Flag is a military flag that embodies sunlight extending from the sun pattern of the Japanese flag. It has been used as an army military weapon since 1870, and it has been put on the forefront when Japan invaded Asian countries, such as during the Pacific War, to ward off Japanese militarism and imperialism. It is known as a symbol of war criminals.
Following the establishment of the Self-Defense Forces in 1954, Japan formally adopted the Rising Sun Flag as the ‘self-defense flag’ for the Ground Self-Defense Force and as the ‘self-defense ship flag’ for the Maritime Self-Defense Force, and have been using it to this day.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.