Olympics: South Korea removes anti-Japan banners in Athletes' Village

TOKYO (AFP) – South Korea has removed anti-Japan banners at its accommodation in the Tokyo Olympic Village because they violated International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, its president Thomas Bach said on Saturday (July 17).

The banners, hung on the balconies of competitors’ rooms, spelt out the slogan in Korean: “I still have support from 50 million Korean people.”

The slogan refers to a naval battle during the 1592-1598 Japanese invasions of Korea. The two countries are still engaged in a territorial dispute over an island chain.

Bach said the South Korean delegation had removed the banners at the IOC’s request.

“This obviously happened upon request of the IOC, because the guidelines… say very clearly the Olympic Village is one of the protected areas where the athletes should and can live peacefully together without having to face any kind of divisive messages,” Bach said in a press conference.

The Tokyo Olympics, postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, start on Friday.

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