Students arrested for burning Japanese flag in Seoul

SEOUL-- Three South Korean university students were arrested by police on Tuesday for burning a Japanese flag near the Japanese Embassy in downtown Seoul.

The students are accused of setting the Rising Sun Flag, formerly used by the Japanese imperial army, on fire on a road across from the embassy around 3 p.m., after condemning the Japanese government and Tokyo Olympics organizers for claiming the easternmost South Korean islets of Dokdo.

The three, all belonging to the so-called Korean Progressive University Student Union, were arrested on the spot on charges of violating the assembly and demonstration and minor offenses laws, according to Jongno Police Station.

They sprayed inflammables on the Japanese flag with writing saying "Tokyo Olympics (organizers) and the Japanese government are strongly condemned for claiming Dokdo as Japanese territory" before setting it on fire, the police station said.

The student union later issued a statement saying the three students are not at fault for condemning Japan over its territorial claim and burning the "war crime flag."

In a related development, Seoul's foreign ministry said earlier in the day that it will call in a senior Japanese diplomat to lodge a protest over a map on the Tokyo Olympic website showing Dokdo as part of Japanese territory.

South Korea has maintained a small Coast Guard unit on Dokdo since 1954 in a show of its effective control of the East Sea islets, but Japan has claimed sovereignty over the territory, which is rich in fish and hydrate gas.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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