US petition to ban Rising Sun flag receives 100,000+ signatures
Nov. 1, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Yoon Sojung
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition on the White House petition site “We the People” urging a ban on Japan’s Rising Sun flag at next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics, with the presidential office required to give an official answer within 60 days of the petition’s filing.
Chad Tanner of the U.S. launched the petition on Sept. 24 under the title “Oppose Japan and the IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) decision to use the ‘rising sun’ flag in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.” The petition received more than 100,000 signatures by Oct. 23, the day before the petition response deadline.
The White House must issue an official answer for any petition receiving more than 100,000 signs within 60 days.
Running the YouTube channel “Hi Chad,” Tanner wrote in the petition, “This flag is offensive to many of Asian heritage and U.S. WWII (World War II) veterans.”
“It was used as a symbol of the imperial Japanese army during a time in which they committed terrible atrocities and war crimes,” he said, adding, “This flag often invokes the same feelings as seeing the Nazi flag.”
“It has no place at the Olympics, an event meant to celebrate unity and peace between nations.”
He also warned of the flag’s potential to damage diplomatic relations, saying, “Using the flag will hurt relations (among) South Korea, North Korea and Japan. It negatively effects the ongoing peace efforts that impact the United States.”
Tanner also urged action from American leaders by saying, “We call upon the highest leaders of the United States to oppose the use of the rising sun flag at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and to submit a formal complaint to the IOC about its planned use.”
In his YouTube channel, he promoted his video related to the issue titled “Times Square Ads Opposing Rising Sun Flag Denied?! Petitioning the White House!” Posted on Oct. 3, the video as of Oct. 30 had 299,347 hits with 35,000 likes and 4,583 comments.
The Rising Sun flag was used by the Japanese military during its invasion of Asia at the end of 19th century and in the Pacific theater of World War II. It is mainly used by extreme right-wing groups in Japan, especially when they hold demonstrations blasting foreigners in the country.
Just as the Nazis’ swastika flag reminds many Europeans of the nightmare of the Second World War, the Rising Sun flag provokes painful memories for many people in Korea, China and East Asia who suffered from Japanese colonial rule. For this reason, both soccer’s world governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Champions League have banned the flag at stadiums.