There's a rather comical story in the Taipei newspaper to the effect that the hinomaru (known to American pilots as the "red meatball") has been removed from a pair of ROC jets. What they were doing there in the first place is something of a mystery, given that the hinomaru is a relict of the Second World War, while both the American F-16 and the locally built F-CK-1 are products of the 1980s. (Taiwan set out to build its own jet fighter when the US, after its rapprochement with mainland China, temporarily stopped supplying Taiwan with F-16s.)
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- R.O.C. Air Force jets painted with Japanese flags to denote the number of victories over Japanese fighters during World War II have been removed, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
MND spokesman Luo Shao-ho yesterday said the decision to remove the Japanese flags previously painted on an Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) jet and a F-16 A/B jet was made by the Air Force Command after "the public has expressed different opinions and mixed views over the paint."
Why they were removed is less of a mystery. Japan must have objected, out of national pride or (as I would like to think) a concern for historical accuracy.