SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Monday that Japan should think about how much it would hurt the feelings of South Koreans if one of its warships flies a controversial imperialistic flag when it participates in an international naval event in the South.

South Korea has expressed opposition to the Japanese vessel displaying the Rising Sun Flag, viewed in South Korea as an emblem of the country's wartime aggression, during the international fleet review slated to take place off the southern island of Jeju later this month.

South Koreans still hold deep resentment over Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said ships of the country's Maritime Self-Defense Force are required by law to hoist the flag, which he said has been recognized as an indicator of the ship's country under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"Japan should take carefully into consideration what effects the Rising Sun flag will have on the minds of South Korean people," Prime Minister Lee said during a parliamentary interpellation session.

With Tokyo refusing to fully atone for its colonial-era misdeeds, such as its wartime sexual slavery, South Koreans have continued to harbor uneasy feelings toward their neighbor despite the need for security cooperation in the face of North Korean threats.

Source: Yonhap News Agency