South Korea up in arms after request to revise Japan map on Tokyo Olympics website turned down

The depiction of Japan's map on the Tokyo Olympics website and the Olympics organizers' reported refusal to change it has led to growing calls for South Korea to boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games.

A diplomatic row over the depiction of Japan’s map on the Tokyo Olympics website has led to growing calls for South Korea to boycott the upcoming Games. South Korea has lodged an appeal to correct the alleged error — showing the islets of Dokdo as part of Japan — but the organisers have reportedly said they have no intention to change the map.

Following reports that the Olympics organisers have refused to change the map, former South Korean Prime Minister and former ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) Chairman Lee Nak Yon wrote on Facebook on Thursday that “Japan’s Olympic organizing committee is marking Dokdo as Japanese territory, and dismissing Korea’s demands to correct it.”

“The Olympic Charter states it pursues political neutrality, and Japan’s act is against the Olympic spirit that pursues harmony. I also urge the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take prompt and stern action against Japan’s move,” said Lee, who is anticipated to run for next year’s presidential election.

“If Japan continues to refuse (to correct), the Korean government should take all possible measures, including a boycott of the Games,” he wrote.

Chung Sye-kyun, another former PM and a Presidential hopeful, also wrote on Facebook that the Korean government should consider all possible measures, including an Olympic boycott, unless the Japanese government deletes Dokdo from the map. He said Japan’s claim to Dokdo comes from when it annexed Korea, adding Japan should leave behind its dark past of imperialism.

In a press briefing on Thursday, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Choi Young Sam reaffirmed that the Dokdo islets are clearly South Korean territory not only historically and geographically but also under international law.

READ | Why are Japan and South Korea at loggerheads?

The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) has also issued a complaint on the matter to the Japanese Olympic Committee.

The map in question marks the Dokdo islets, only viewable on zooming in, with a small dot that is coloured the same as the rest of Japan. The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has said the map was produced to easily identify the locations of the Olympics torch relay and has no political connotations, according to Korean Broadcasting System World.

Dokdo has long been a recurring source of tension between the two neighbors, with Japan continuing to lay claim to the East Sea islets in its policy papers, public statements and school textbooks. South Korea has been in effective control of Dokdo, with a small police detachment, since its liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.

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