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Additional Controversy over "Dokdo is Japanese Territory“

Additional Controversy over "Dokdo is Japanese Territory“

Posted April. 10, 2002 09:06,   


The Japanese Education and Science Ministry authorized on April 9 the revised "Newest Japanese History" (published by Meysey Publishing Co.), which is a title-changed version of a Japanese high school history textbook "New Edition Japanese History" that triggered history distortion controversy when it requested its first authorization in 1986. The textbook has been notorious for its omission of military comfort girls; the only one of its kind among 26 Japanese high-school history textbooks, and this time the textbook added in its content that Dokdo (Japanese Takeshima) is a Japanese territory, which will surely trigger controversies.

The textbook stated at the last page of the book under the title of "Tasks of Modern Japan and Creation of Culture" as, "We should not overlook the reality of our nation as our country`s own territories are exposed by the threats of other countries," adding "The northern territories are now occupied by Russia, and South Korea and China claim territorial sovereignty over Takeshima Islet in Shimane Prefecture and Senkaku islands in Okinawa Prefecture, respectively." The history textbook is a second one so far, which sated that Dokdo is a Japanese territory, but its expression thereof is the strongest.

The textbook does not mention military comfort girls this time again and still uses a term of "Great East-Asian War" that suggests the Pacific War is a self-defense war of Japan. Additionally, the text lists the whole sentences of "Educational Guidelines" of 1890 expounding chauvinistic nationalism and also claims that Japanese established a colony called "Imna" in ancient Korea. However, there are improved expressions such as listing both "Chosun" and "Yi`s Chosen" instead of "Yi`s Chosen", and adding descriptions on forceful relocation of potters during Japanese Invasion in Imjin year, the arbitrary characteristics of Queen Min assassination, and forcefulness of land survey project in Japanese colonial period.

The other five history textbooks, which had been approved for their revised editions, still have the statements on military comfort girls remained. Trial editions of these textbooks will be submitted on May, and will be chosen to be adapted through textbook exhibitions to be held by regions on August. The adapted textbooks will be used in high schools beginning from new semester on April next year. The "Newest Japanese History" has been adapted in 15 schools with a number of 2,400 copies (the adaptation rate is 0.38 percent).

Director general of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Ministry, Choo Kyu-Ho, emphasized to deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Katori, "Dokdo is our territory given authoritative historical evidence, geographical facts and international law," adding "We have always clearly stated our positions on this issue whenever the occasion arises" However, the government recommended some merits of Japanese high school textbooks approved this time for some improvement on their historical descriptions while generally maintaining current expressions. Especially, the government is going to continuously endeavor to let Japan make correct historical statement through the "Joint History Research Panel" which will be active beginning this month as the panel was launched on March 2002.

Young-Sik Kim ksshim@donga.com · spear@donga.com