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Japan Mulls How to Describe Dokdo Islets

Posted July. 14, 2008 08:11,   


The Japanese government is to announce its handbook to the middle school society textbook where Japan has claimed its sovereignty over Korea`s Dokdo islets. Local educational heads will participate in the announcement event.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday that Japan would not directly use the phrase “part of sovereign territory” as gesture of consideration for the Korean government. Instead, it would describe the islets in the textbook.

According to the newspaper, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which takes charge of the textbook publication, originally planned to define the islets as Takeshima and as belonging to Japan`s sovereign territory.

As of Saturday, the newspaper reported that ministry officials were leaning toward the description of the islets without claiming sovereignty, along with the description of the four northern islands Japan alleges Russia is illegally occupying.

The Japanese government reportedly discussed whether to include the expression that Korea claims sovereignty over the islets.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun also reported yesterday that the Japanese government was in the last stage of considering how to define the Dokdo islets in the handbook. According to the newspaper, Tokyo is trying to minimize the friction with Seoul and minimize any public anger in Japan.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura confirmed the effort Friday, saying, “We are considering which expression to use.”

Unlike the other newspapers, the nationalist Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday that senior officials including the chief secretary are leaning toward the description of Dokdo as part of the sovereign Japanese territory.

The handbook is revised almost every 10 years, serving as guidelines for publishing companies and teachers in making textbooks or conducting classes.