Japan's MSDF ship to fly Rising Sun Flag in drills near S.Korea

A vessel from Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force is expected to display the Rising Sun Flag when it takes part in drills near a South Korean island next week.

Japan's defense ministry and the SDF have announced that they will send a destroyer to multinational exercises in waters off South Korea's Jeju Island next Wednesday.

Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu said that based on domestic laws and regulations, the MSDF's flag will be flown. It was his response to a reporter's question on whether the destroyer will fly the Rising Sun Flag.

The Self-Defense Forces Law stipulates that the Rising Sun Flag is to be displayed on MSDF vessels.

But in 2018, Japan decided not to send a vessel to South Korea's fleet review after considering Seoul's request not to fly the flag. The request was made by the government of then-President Moon Jae-in. Many Koreans were said to view the flag as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

The planned participation of a Japanese destroyer with the flag is seen as a sign that bilateral ties are improving.