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Kallie Szczepanski

Japan / South Korea Island Dispute Intrudes on Olympics

By August 13, 2012

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South Korean soccer fans protest Japan's claim to the Dokdo Islands (Takeshima)

The long-running dispute between Japan and South Korea over some small off-shore islets made its way into the bronze medal soccer game between the two countries at the 2012 Olympics. The islands, called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, have been the subject of diplomatic spats for decades between the two East Asian neighbors.

In the celebrations after South Korea's victory over Japan in the bronze medal match, Korean player Park Jong-woo grabbed (or was handed) a sign from a fan that challenged Japan's claim to the islands. As a result of this political statement, the IOC did not allow Mr. Park to attend the medal ceremony, and FIFA will determine whether or not he will receive his medal at some later time.

Photo by Stanley Chou / Getty Images.

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