An official announced on Monday that the South Korean team will prepare food separately for its athletes and screen its ingredients for radiation during the Tokyo Olympics, which could further exacerbate frayed Seoul-Tokyo relations around the Games.
South Korea has repeatedly irked Japan with measures such as restricting imports of Japanese seafood due to safety concerns following the 2011 Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster. A representative of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said the committee has booked a hotel near the Olympic village for the preparation and delivery of athletes meals. Additionally, the country has kept its own food programs going at every Olympic Games to keep its athletes comfortable.
Relations between the Asian neighbours already strained amid territorial disputes and the military history were further soured on Monday when Seoul announced South Korean President Moon Jae-in would not attend the Games, which open on Friday, for a summit with the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
A banner referring to a sixteenth-century war between Japan and South Korea was removed from the South Korean team’s Olympic village accommodation balconies in Japan at the request of the International Olympic Committee.
The Games were originally being billed as a “recovery Olympics” from the 10-year-old devastation, with Fukushima produce being promoted, but the Games were postponed by one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such food served at the Olympics will be safe, according to Olympic organizers.