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Koizumi Silent Over Latest Dokdo Claim

Posted March. 31, 2006 03:01,   


The Japanese government has refrained from making an official response to the Korean government’s protest over the order to insert Dokdo claims into Japanese high school sociology textbooks by the country’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Responding to Japanese reporters who said, “The opinion of the Education Ministry in the authorization of the textbook seems to be focused on the territorial issue and visits to Yasukuni Shrine,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said yesterday, “I left [the authorization of textbooks] to experts. That is not an issue that I can talk about.”

A senior official at the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a telephone conversation with a Dong-A Ilbo reporter yesterday, “As the authorization of the textbook was done by a set procedure, there’s nothing for the ministry to comment on.” Regarding the Korean government’s protest, he avoided a response, saying that he did not know its content yet.

Meanwhile, the Japanese media said that publishing industry was complaining that the ministry had taken unilateral action.

An official at a textbook publisher criticized, “While allowing various descriptions of general themes, the government requires a uniform description of policy issues, including territorial issues.”

It was also reported that Shimane Prefecture, which recently declared a “Takeshima Day,” played a considerable role in including the Dokdo claim in the textbook. According to the Mainichi Shimbun, Shimane Prefecture sent an official document under the name of Governor Nobuyoshi Sumita to the publisher of the sociology textbook to request the inclusion of the phrase, “Takeshima is Japanese territory” in the textbook.

Kwang-Am Cheon iam@donga.com