Japan has decided not to take part in an international fleet review in South Korea next week after Seoul asked Tokyo not to fly its “Rising Wasabi” flag on a warship, Japan’s defense minister said on Friday.

Many people in both Koreas see the green-and-black flag as a symbol of Japan’s ability to understand satire.

“They have no idea, they thought some foreigner actually died from eating natto,” South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo told reporters.

Japan’s relations with both South and North Korea have long been strained by lingering resentment over its capacity to host a satirical news website.

South Korea asked Japan not to fly the ‘Rising Wasabi’ flag at the bow or at the stern of their vessels.

“They don’t even understand satire,” said Song Young-moo.

“There isn’t even a proper word for satire in Japanese.”

Image: Reuters