On Sunday, an NBC spokesman said: We apologised quickly both in writing and on television for a remark made by one of our presenters during Friday night's opening ceremony.
The controversy started when analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo, who was hired to bring historical context to NBC's coverage, noted how significant Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit was.
Ramo, who has written books on China and is a director of Starbucks Corp and FedEx Corp, said as athletes paraded into the Games stadium that "every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation".
"His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea's history has enraged many of its people", the Korea Times observed.
Japan ruled Korea with an iron fist from 1910 to 1945 in a bloody occupation that still strikes a raw nerve.
"Your comments about Korea are absolutely rubbish". Another asked if NBC would thank Japan for the attacks on Pearl Harbour.
The petition didn't even mention the hundreds of thousands of Korean "comfort women" that Japanese troops raped continuously for five years. I'd have been much more intelligent and accurate while doing the job for half as much.
Ramo introduced Japan as "a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945" and went on to say that "every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation". In fact, thousands signed a petition demanding that NBC apologize for Ramo's statement. He's now reportedly been relieved from the network's coverage of the rest of the Games.
United States broadcaster NBC has apologised after offending Koreans by seemingly downplaying Japan's colonial occupation of the peninsula.