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Effective control over Dokdo islets in response to Japan’s action

Effective control over Dokdo islets in response to Japan’s action

Posted April. 07, 2015 06:54,   


Japan’s Education Ministry has approved 18 kinds of middle school textbooks (eight history, six social studies, and four geography textbooks) containing claims that “Takeshima (Dokdo in Japanese) is Japan’s territory.” As a result, all Japanese middle school students will learn with the textbooks that contain distorted facts from next year. Japanese fifth and sixth graders have already started using similar textbooks this year. It is regrettable that Japan continues to misguide the truth although the Korean government delivered its concerns during the foreign ministers meeting among Korea, Japan and China held in Seoul last month.

In Japan`s recent approval process, claims over the Dokdo islets were reflected particularly in history textbooks. Only one textbook described that the islets belong to “Japan’s territory” in the 2011 approval, but eight textbooks made the same claim this year. A textbook says, “The Japanese government incorporated Takeshima into Shimane Prefecture in January 1905 and the governor noticed this on February 22.” Back then, it was almost impossible for Korea to keep the islets because Japan began to take Korea’s sovereignty before signing the Protectorate Treaty between Korea and Japan concluded in 1905. Some textbooks said, “Korea declared Rhee Syng-man Line unilaterally in 1952 and illegally occupied the islets.” It is worrisome that what historic perception “Abe kids” would have after such education.

The move has already been heralded. The second Shinzo Abe Cabinet, launched in December 2012, has explicitly controlled textbooks. When the Japanese government released teaching manuals demanding middle and high school textbooks include the sovereignty claim over the islets in January last year, the Korean government strongly opposed it. However, the Japanese government did not take it seriously at all. Japan is found to have included the islets as “Japan’s own territory in terms of history and international law” in the 2015 Diplomatic Blue Book to be released on Tuesday. The description has been included in the book for eight straight years since 2008.

Japan is still distorting historical facts around the territory this year, the 50th anniversary of the normalized ties between Korea and Japan. If Japan really wanted to improve the bilateral relationship, it shouldn`t have done this. Against this backdrop, the Korean government should seriously consider restarting the construction of a safety center and breakwater project, which it postponed due to the backlash from Japan in November last year. If the government cannot stop Japan’s claim over the disputed islands, it must take a step in the right direction to safeguard our territory with a decisive action.