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Japan, S. Korea historians at odds over key events
www.chinaview.cn 2005-06-10 20:35:34

    TOKYO, June 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese and South Korean historians presented differing views on key historical events involving the two countries in a report released Friday as part of a bilateral project aimed at promoting mutual understanding on history perceptions.

    The nearly 2,000-page document comprising reports by scholars from the two countries showed conflicting interpretations, particularly on modern and contemporary issues.

    In the reports, South Korean historians say Japan forced Korea to accept the Second Japan-Korea Agreement in 1905, which made Korea a Japanese protectorate, and the 1910 Annexation Treaty. TheSouth Koreans say these pacts were invalid because procedures for their signing and ratification were lacking.

    A Japanese scholar asserts, however, that there were no conditions that would make the treaties invalid under international law.

    The Korean Peninsula has been under Japanese colonial rule until 1945.

    Japan and South Korea agreed in October 2001 at a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and then South Korean President Kim Dae Jung to promote a joint study on history by scholars.

    At that time, bilateral relations had reached a low point over a Japanese history textbook for public schools which South Korea said whitewashed Japan's wartime atrocities.

    A group of scholars started work on the joint study the following year and took until May this year to complete their reports, one year behind schedule, apparently due to differences on interpretations and theories on many issues.

    The study group was divided into three subgroups -- one on ancient history, another on medieval history and the third on modern and contemporary history.

    Japan and South Korea will continue the joint history study, and a new round is expected to start under a new framework by the end of this year.

    Koizumi and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun are expected toagree at their summit, scheduled for June 20 in Seoul, to have the joint study group take up the issue of history textbooks in the second round.

    The first-round joint study group did not deal with the textbook issues.

    On ancient history, South Korean experts question descriptions in Nihon Shoki, Japan's ancient chronicles covering events from the mythical age to the late seventh century, about the Japanese Yamato state's influences over Korea during the ancient Choson era.

    They argue that results of research by academic circles on ancient history are not reflected in Japanese textbooks.

    The joint report also shows that the study group discussed the impacts on Korean society of expeditions launched by Japanese warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) to conquer Korea in the 1590s.

    The report in both Japanese and Korean can be viewed via the website of the Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation (http://www.jkcf.or.jp/history). Enditem


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