Korean speed skater brings suitcase bearing anti-Japanese slogan to Sochi Olympics

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    South Korean Olympic speed skater Mo Tae-bum arrived at Sochi carrying a bizarre suitcase [via GetNews.jp]:

    korean political suitcase at olympics

    dokdo suitcase

    Korean olympic politics

    It was basically a rolling advertisement for Korea’s territorial claim to the Liancourt Rocks.

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    Political statements are banned at the Olympics, and this is clearly a political statement. However, since his expression of anti-Japanese nationalism was on a suitcase at the airport, as opposed to the actual ice rink, the authorities don’t seem to care much about it. There aren’t any English language media reports about the suitcase, and the story only seems to have appeared on a few Japanese internet news sites and blogs.

    Is it fair to call this anti-Japanese? Yes. It is a statement made in the context of directly challenging Japan’s claim that Korea has illegally occupied the rocks. Merely believing that the rocks belong to Korea is one thing, but turning your luggage into a loud proclamation of Korea’s ownership of the islands is another matter. In the context of the ongoing dispute over the rocks, it cannot be seen something that is not anti-Japanese.

    (For readers who are unfamiliar with the dispute: Japan has maintained a single position since the 1950’s – it believes the islands are Japanese territory, and it seeks third-party arbitration of the dispute through the International Court of Justice. It is not an aggressive or militaristic position. It is a peaceful position based on the idea that disputes can be settled through peaceful discussion. Some Koreans who defend their government’s decision to not agree to abitration make the ridiculous claim, without evidence, that the International Court of Justice is a corrupt body that would side with Japan even if Korea had a better case. )

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