April 07, 2014 11:46
Japan has extended the requirement to teach children about Tokyo's flimsy colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets.
The Japanese government on April 4 announced a review of elementary school texts that will be used starting in 2015. Out of new eight textbooks for fifth and sixth graders, six claim that Korea illegally occupies Japanese territory. The remaining two contain maps showing Dokdo as part of Japan.
Japanese middle- and high-school students are already being taught the spurious claim as fact.
Two out of four textbooks for third and fourth graders will for the first time contain maps showing Dokdo as Japanese.
Currently only one of 10 fifth and sixth grade texts says Dokdo belongs to Japan, while seven have maps showing the Korean islets as part of Japan.
Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong called in Japanese Ambassador to Korea Koro Bessho on Friday to lodge a formal protest. Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Seoul "is clearly warning Japan that the road to mending Korea-Japan relations will get longer if the Japanese government continues provocations over Dokdo in the name of textbook examination."
Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura said it is only "proper" to teach Japanese students what Tokyo claims is part of its territory and that foreign governments should not interfere.
Even the Japanese media voiced concerns over the latest revisions. The Asahi Shimbun in an editorial on Saturday said, "None of the textbooks explain the background to these disputes nor the grounds on which both sides make their cases."
The Mainichi Shimbun also wrote that children must be taught the background to territorial disputes. It quoted Prof. Akira Yamada of Meiji University as saying the inclusion in textbooks of Tokyo's unilateral claims is tantamount to government diktat.
The Tokyo Shimbun criticized the latest revisions as reflecting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's rightwing views.
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