TOKYO: The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics said Friday they could identify Japan's "Rising Sun" flag as the flag of a non-participating country.

The flag, a centuries-old symbol used by Japan's military during the Second World War, is the recent diplomatic football in a worsening feud between South Korea and Japan over the bitter legacy of their shared past.

The South Korean Ministry of Sport has this week asked the International Olympic Committee to ban all use of the flag, which is similar to the use of the swastika by the Nazis.

The use of flags of non-participating countries may be limited at Olympic venues. A spokesman for the Tokyo Organizing Committee said he could not confirm whether this would apply to the flag "Rising Sun".

(Reporting by Linda Sieg, editorial by William Mallard)