BEIJING (Reuters) - Japanese fans attending the Beijing Olympics have been advised not to display the country’s “rising sun” naval flag for fear of provoking a backlash from Chinese hosts.
The flag is seen by many in Asia as a symbol of Tokyo’s wartime militarism.
“We explain in a safety guideline for Japanese tourists coming to see the Olympics that the old military flag may cause trouble,” Norio Saito, a Beijing Embassy official told Reuters on Friday.
The “rising sun” flag, with 16 rays extending from a red sun on a white background, was displayed by the Imperial Japanese Navy and is still the emblem of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces, as the current navy is known.
The embassy guideline notes that flags and banners of a political, ethnic or religious nature are banned at Olympic venues and discourages Japanese tourists from showing items that could conjure up bitter memories of the wartime past, which still haunt Sino-Japanese ties six decades later.
Editing by Steve Ginsburg