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Japan: “There Are Some Problems in the History Textbooks of South Korea and China”

Japan: “There Are Some Problems in the History Textbooks of South Korea and China”

Posted April. 26, 2005 09:33,   


The Japanese foreign minister complained about “the distortion of history textbooks,” making an issue of the system and the content of national textbooks compiled by South Korea and China. Considering the Japanese prime minister’s apology at the recent China-Japan summit meeting and the Asia and Africa Summit, this response, which in a manner of putting the cart before the horse, makes us suspicious of whether Japan has truly reflected over its wartime activities.

Furthermore, over 70 percent of Japanese answered that they could not understand China’s claim that Japan should apologize over its past wrongdoings and put into practice proper activity.

Reverse Offensive against Textbooks-

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, appearing on Japanese public broadcasting NHK and privately-owned broadcasting TV Asahi consecutively on April 24, said, “After reviewing China’s anti-Japanese textbooks, the Japanese government will request its revision.”

He further criticized, “There is only one type of national textbook in the history textbooks of China and South Korea. The Japanese government can’t understand how can merely one exist,” implying that the Japanese government would raise an issue against South Korea as well.

On that day, Machimura said, “According to Chinese State Council member Tang Jia-xuan’s remarks at the meeting held on April 18, there is no anti-Japanese education in China, and it is all right for Japan to interpose an objection against China’s textbooks,” thus, “The Japanese government will convey anything necessary to be pointed out.”

It is analyzed that as the public criticism that Japan was defeated in terms of diplomatic perspectives has stirred up since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi did not even request an apology and reparation over damage caused by anti-Japanese demonstrations from Chinese President Hu Jintao during the China-Japan summit meeting, the Japanese government is trying to appease its people.

Public Opinion is also against China-

According to public opinion poll conducted by Asahi Shimbun on April 25, 71 percent of respondents answered that they could not understand why Chinese President Hu Jintao indirectly asked Koizumi to stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine with his saying, “Japan should show contrition for atrocities it committed in the past”.

Regarding the background of anti-Japanese protests in China, the answer, “The history education of China affected it,” stood at 80 percent, reflecting the Japanese recent view of history.

Meanwhile, on the matter of Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the answer, “It is good to stop it,” reached 48 percent, up from 39 percent in November 2004. It is likely that, with the current situation, the Japanese government has decided to terminate a diplomatic setback rather than apologize over the past wartime atrocities.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com