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NBC apologises to Koreans for ‘insensitive’ remark during Winter Olympics

American TV broadcasting company NBC has apologised for an insensitive remark made by its Asian correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo, who said that “every Korean” revered Japan for its recent achievements as a nation.

According to multiple media reports, including MSNThe New York TimesThe Washington Post and The Korea Herald, Ramo said during the Parade of Nations at 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony that Koreans view Japan as a cultural, technological and economic example that “has been so important to their own transformation”. His comment drew flak for implying that South Korea had forgotten about the 35 years of Japanese occupation during World War II.

A petition targeting “all victims of the Japanese imperialism” was also launched, demanding an apology from NBC for “defending Japanese imperialism” during the opening ceremony. It received 12,959 out of 100,000 signatures at the time of writing. NBC has since apologised for the comment, adding that it understands the Koreans were “insulted” by them, according to MSN.

Netizens took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, describing the comment as “abusive”, “defamatory” and “ignorant”. One user also compared Ramo’s praise of the Japanese occupation of Korea as advocating Nazi persecution of Jews.

Meanwhile, according to The Korea Times sources, NBC has relieved Ramo from its PyeongChang Olympic coverage following the ignorant remarks.

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