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Japan revises teaching manuals to claim disputed territories, triggers criticism

English.news.cn   2014-01-28 20:58:56

TOKYO, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura on Tuesday announced that the ministry has revised the country's teaching manuals for junior and senior high schools to claim areas in disputes between Japan and China and between Japan and South Korea, according to local media.

The minister said in a press conference that it is natural for Japan to teach "properly" about its territory, adding his ministry is working with Japan's foreign ministry on the territorial issues.

The new manuals will describe the disputed territories as " Japan's integral parts," according to Japan's Kyodo News.

Relations between Japan and China have frayed since it illegally "nationalized" the Diaoyu Islets which are inherent territories of China in September 2012.

Tokyo and Seoul are also at odds over a pair of rocks in the Sea of Japan. The island is known as "Dokdo" in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

The manuals will be used for textbooks for junior high school social studies and senior high school geography, history and civics classes, said Kyodo. The country earlier this month revised textbook screening guidelines.

It is unusual to revise the manuals at this time as they are usually revised every 10 years along with the amendment of curriculum guidelines, said Kyodo, adding the existing teaching manuals for junior and senior high schools were published in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Textbook revision issue is one of the obstacles between Japan and its neighboring countries as the issue reflects Japan's attitude toward its militarism past.

South Korea in 2008 briefly recalled its ambassador from Japan in protest after Japan revising the manuals and for first time mentioning that the disputed territory with South Korea belongs to Japan.

On Tuesday, South Korea blasted again on Japan's move with South Korean Foreign Ministry summoning Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho and demanding Japan retract the manuals.

"The Japanese Abe government made its preposterous claim once again to Dokdo islets, our inherent territory historically, geographically and under international laws, by revising its practice manual for junior and senior high school curriculum guidelines," Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a spokesman's statement on its website.

Meanwhile, China also logged stern protest against the move and urged Japan to stop provocative actions and respect historical realities and educate the younger generation with a correct view of history.

"The Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated isles have been an inherent part of Chinese territory since ancient times," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

"We are greatly concerned about that and have lodged solemn representation to the Japanese side," Hua said, adding that Japan 's efforts in promoting its wrong stance can never change the fundamental fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China.

Hua also urged Japan to take solid actions to improve relations with its neighbors.

Also on Tuesday, a Japanese opposition party leader blasted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's foreign policies, saying the current government adopted provocative actions that further escalated tensions between Japan and neighboring countries.

Banri Kaieda, head of Japan's main opposition the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), said in a Diet session that although repeatedly saying that door for talks with China and South Korea is always open, Abe did not carry out any concrete actions to mend ties with the two countries.

The DPJ leader also called on Abe to follow "Murayama Statement" and "Kono Statement" as the United States, a Japan' s key ally, has expressed its worries over Abe's attitude toward history and Japan's provocations, adding Abe has to reflect on past aggression.

Editor: Shen Qing
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