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South Korean politician calls for 'Dokdo Olympics' amid dispute with Japan

The South Korea-administered Dokdo Islets are at the center of a new dispute between Tokyo and Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap
The South Korea-administered Dokdo Islets are at the center of a new dispute between Tokyo and Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap

June 4 (UPI) -- A South Korean politician says the disputed Dokdo Islets should appear on athletes' uniforms as more public figures call for a response to a Japanese decision to include the territory on the Tokyo Olympic website.

Kim Kang-yeol, director of Gwangju Environment Corp. in South Korea's sixth largest city, said Friday that the Tokyo Olympics should be designated the "Dokdo Olympics," and that South Korea should rally "all nations once affected by Japanese imperialism" to work in solidarity, according to the Segye Ilbo.

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Kim's statement comes after two former South Korean prime ministers said Korean athletes should boycott the Tokyo Olympics if Japan refuses to remove Dokdo from its map.

"Takeshima is an inherent territory of Japan, as evident from historical facts and according to international law," said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato earlier this week, referring to the disputed territory by its Japanese name.

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Kim proposed an alternative to a Korean boycott of the Summer Games. Rather than declining to attend the Olympics, Korean athletes should include Dokdo on all their official promotional materials, and on sportswear and sports equipment, Kim said.

South Korea's Sport and Olympic Committee has sent a letter to the International Olympic Committee to request "active mediation." Kim said Friday that the Tokyo Olympics should be an opportunity to show to the world the "guts of the Korean people."

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The IOC previously mediated a dispute between Japan and South Korea on the Dokdo issue. In 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, South Korea removed Dokdo from the Korean Unification Flag after Japan complained and the IOC recommended against politicizing sporting events.

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North Korea is weighing on the Dokdo dispute.

KCNA said Friday that Japan seeks to "realize its ambition to seize territory." North Korean state media also said Japan's action "abuses the sacred Olympic Games, which symbolize friendship and unity."

Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

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