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Japanese Government Keeps Its Lips Sealed

Posted March. 13, 2005 22:42,   


As the history textbook, published by Fusosha, which embellishes Japan`s colonial rule, became public, Japanese civic groups and Japanese nationalist writers of the textbooks have come head-to-head.

Also, regarding the strong repulsion from the South Korean government, the Japanese government has refrained from making any official comment.

At a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, Nobuyoshi Takashima, a professor at Ryukyu University, disclosed the materials containing history distortions, urging the Education Minister to mount an investigation, saying, “The suspicion that Fusosha leaked the materials intentionally is likely to be true.”

According to the civic group, in late November to December of last year when the textbook authorization process was at its peak, Fusosha handed out the application for the problematic textbook to some officials related to education committee. Professor Takashima asserted that “It is likely to have been an act to advertise the textbook in advance to have it authorized. Its textbook should be excluded among the candidates for authorization as it disobeyed rules.”

On the matter, Fusosha asserted that “There was no intention to leak the material. The reaction from the civic group is a political calculation to influence the outcome of the textbook authorization process.”

Even though the history distortion issue has caused quite a stir in South Korea, the Japanese government made no comment on it during the official briefings from the chief cabinet secretary and foreign minister.

However, on Friday, senior vice education minister Hakubun Shimomura, who caused quite a controversy after denying the “neighboring countries provision” during the textbook authorization, answered during a public discussion that “I have not denied the provision itself,” clarifying his statement.

He said, “The provision itself is rightful. I’m not ignoring its existence. I was trying to say that after the provision was set, there were increases in descriptions of coercive transfer or acts of military comfort, but the number has gone down these days.”

Meanwhile, the right-wing Sankei Shimbun reported in its Seoul issue that “the South Korean government has already started an anti-Japanese campaign ahead of the authorization of the textbook to take place in April. They are trying to instigate a joint demonstration by the Japanese teacher’s labor organization and elites against the textbook published by Fusosha, and to aggrandize the anti-Japanese sentiment surrounding the Dokdo islets issue.”

Soon-Taek Kwon parkwj@donga.com