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Korea Reconsiders Opening Japanese Cultural Market

Posted July. 09, 2001 09:15,   


Responding to the virtual rejection of Japan to the Korea`s request for the revision of the distorted Japanese historical textbooks, the Korean government expressed very strong dissatisfaction and set to utilize all possible countermeasures to respond. Consequently, the Korea-Japan relationship is on the verge of the worst crisis.

Japanese ambassador Terusuke Terada visited Han Seung-Soo, Korean Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister, yesterday morning, to deliver the result of the Japan`s review that Japan can revise only two items out of the 35 items of the Japanese middle school historical textbooks.

The two revisions include the passages related to the Korean ancient history; ``Baikjae fought against Koguryo to aid Silla,`` and ``the distinction between the Paleolithic period and the Neolithic period is not clear in its chronological table.`` However, the Korean government defined the Japanese response as a virtual overall rejection to the Korea`s request for the revision and as a serious threat to damage the state of credibility, which has been nurtured by the two countries since `the Korea-Japan Partnership Joint Declaration` in 1998.

Minister Han expressed that ``the Korean government and the people are all deeply disappointed and embarrassed. We cannot accept the result of the review by the Japanese government. Now, Japan is responsible for the following consequences.`` A high official of the government also declared that ``Japan is certainly a nation that cannot be trusted. They did not revise such clear mistakes as the descriptions about the Japanese Military Sexual Slavery, the allegation of Japanese colony in Korean peninsula, three kingdoms as tributary states.`` Minister Han also rejected the request of Japan for the suspension of the fishing operation in the Southern Kuril Islands.

In addition, to protest against the Japanese decision, the Korean government rejected the proposal delivered by Japan to promote the Korea-Japan exchange projects, `Korea-Japan New Century Exchange Project.` And the government held a meeting to discuss the countermeasures of the distorted Japanese historical textbooks.

The Korean government will announce the detail countermeasures including the rejection of the Korea-Japan Foreign Minister meeting in the Asian Regional Forum (ARF), the postponement of the opening of cultural market to Japan, the reduction of the Korea-Japan exchange programs, the suspension of the exchange of high authorities, the change of the official title from `Emperor` to `Japanese king` in the government documents, the rejection of the Japanese entry into the permanent member of the UN Security Council, and the reiteration of the issue in the international meetings.

The government is also considering the recall of Korean ambassador Choi Sang-Ryong when it is necessary.

Meanwhile, chief secretary Yamasaki delivered an autograph letter from Koizumi Junichiro Japanese Prime Minister to President Kim Dae-Jung, which read, according to a government official, that Japan considers ``the Korea-Japan relationship as the most significant diplomatic pillar and will take more efforts to promote the friendly cooperative relationship between the two nation.``

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com