Recently, as many of you may know. I opened a poll about the PA DD flags. Letting aside the dispute about the PA DD flags. There were a few people being quite bitter about the Rising Sun flag in the comments.
Now, I am well aware of the political dispute surrounding this particular flag(mainly between Koreans and Japanese) but I am going to try to be as objective as possible about this topic and refrain from touching on political subjects. Rather, I would like to tell you guys why this flag is being brought up so many times and making so many controversys here and elsewhere(especially on Youtube and Facebook)
Let's get started then.
As you all should know, WWII ended in a defeat on the side of the Axis Powers. The two main nations involved in the defeated side of the war, Germany and Japan were designated as "War Criminals" by the Allies and the Soviet Union. Allies wanted to make sure they never rose to powere again, so they disarmed both countries and prohibited armament. This is why Japan "officially" doesn't have an army today.
You may ask "Why does Germnay have an army then?"
Well, Germany was in a different situation compared to Japan. After the war, Germany was split into two countries and the West Germany which sided with the Allies(NATO) was placed on the frontline against the Warsaw Pact nations. So West Germany was allowed to rearm in order to face the threat in the east and become a shield for the western world.
Japan however, never went through this process. Even after the war, Japane remained as a one nation and it was Korea which was divided. Thus, the United States did not allow Japan to rearm. Instead, Japan was to serve as a staging area for the US Army and Navy.
But, the Japanese government saw the need for armed forces in order to defend their country against any potential threat from the Communist nations such as China, North Korea and USSR. Thus in the 1960s, Japan was allowe to form a Armed Police force which was later to become the JSDF(Japan Self Defence Force).
The problem was that Japan never followed the steps the Germany went through. Germany, after the war did everything they could to remove the influence and remnants of the Nazis Party which heavily included the Swastika.
Also note that the United Nations did not got involved to make sure that the flags that were used in the war got completely banned. So internationally, it is not illegal in most countries to use both Swastika and the Rising Sun flag. The reason why you get punished for using those symbols in some countries(other than Germany) is because you offend the public by using thos symbols in certain countries.
So it's not illegal to be using these flags in the game itself.(aside from Germany)
Germnay had made sure that Swastika never got used ever again in their country. But in Japan, the Rising Sun never got banned.
Which is partially why most westerners wouldn't really feel uncomfortable using it(unless you are a Pacific War Veteran) since they never even seen it before.
But in Asian countries which were heavily involved with Japan, it is a different story. The Japanese army like the Germans, used the Rising Sun flag as their symbol during their extensive invasion of Asia while causing millions of casualties in the process.
Japan like the Germans did apologize for the atrocities they've caused in the past which is why Japan-Korean relations greatly improved during the early 21st Century and Japan provided Korea with financial aids as a retrobution for their occupation in the past.
But that does not mean that this symbol sparks negativity. For some asian countries, the usage of this flag symbloizes the return of the Japanese imperialism which is why Korea and China would express heavy negativity towards this flag.
Thus, this flag has been the eye of the storm for quite a while and this will continue in the future unless both side comes to a truce.
Also this is why Wargaming removed this flag from the game because it would generate endless flow of negativity throughout the community.