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Japanese Textbooks Claim Dokdo

Posted April. 05, 2005 23:19,   


The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, in its general meeting of a committee for inspecting textbooks on April 5, approved eight kinds of history, civics and geography textbooks, a including middle school history textbook by Fusosha Publishing Inc.

Since the approved textbooks contain distorted history related to Korea, the friction between Korea and Japan is expected to become worse

In particular, as the Japanese ministry has directed publishers to insure the Dokdo islets are mentioned as a part of Japan, territorial disputes besides history distortion have emerged as well.

The Korean government and experts found the problematic textbooks carry 11 more distorted descriptions, 26 current-level distortions, four partly improved descriptions, and four correct changes. Of the total of 37 distortions, the Fusosha textbook made by Japanese rightists was found to have 26 distorted contents.

These textbooks have beautified the Japanese colonization more than they did in current textbooks, and even eradicated accounts as to the comfort women and forced labor that the current textbooks carry.

Moreover, Fusosha’s history textbook changed its description of Shilla by replacing the current phrase, “Shilla, under the strong political influence of China,” with “Shilla, paying tribute to the Tang dynasty” in its 2006 version. Also, in its new section titled “Joseon’s Modernization and Japan,” the Joseon dynasty is described as if it had been under the rule of the Qing dynasty.

Tokyo Publishing and Osaka Publishing added a new section, claiming the Dokdo islets are Japanese territory.

The Fusosha textbook, which had already described Dokdo as a part of Japan, posted a photo of the islets in its latest version. It is estimated that 65 percent of Japanese middle schools are likely to select the disputed textbooks which claim Japan’s sovereignty over the Dokdo islets.

Lee Gyu-hyung, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in a statement that it was very deplorable that some textbooks still carry content that justify and beautify Japanese wrongdoings in the past. He stressed that since Japan’s territorial claim was nothing other than justifying its colonization of the Korean peninsula and denying the Korean people’s liberation history, the government would willingly assume responsibility and take strong measures.

The government held an inter-ministerial meeting to come up with countermeasures on the same day, and has decided to make an effort in reducing the adoption rate of the disputed textbooks and do its best to let the international community see the truth of Japan’s attempt for history distortion through collaborating with civic groups and conscious members at home and abroad.

The Korean government plans to summon Dakano Doshiyuki, the Japanese ambassador to the Republic of Korea, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on April 6, and also send the Korean ambassador in Japan to the Japanese Foreign Ministry to express a strong protest against the issue.

Jong-Koo Yoon Hun-Joo Cho jkmas@donga.com hanscho@donga.com