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UPDATED: 13:59, September 01, 2004
Seoul accuses Japan of distorting history in textbooks
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South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday accused Japan of distorting history in its textbooks.

There is "only a single truth in historical facts," Ban said, calling on Japan to face history, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

"Right recognition of history is the basis for ties between thetwo neighbors," added Ban.

"The Japanese government should be mindful of the recognition that the two countries should address history issues in a way that promotes forward-looking development," he said.

Ban's remarks came six days after Japan's educational authorities decided to use a controversial history textbook that critics have accused of whitewashing Japan's wartime atrocities, in a public middle-high school to open next year.

Written by a group of nationalist scholars, the textbook has been a source of diplomatic friction between Japan and its Asian neighbors for years.

South Korea, one of the countries that suffered greatly from Japan's colonial rule, expressed its "regret" and "concern" over the decision previously.

The two countries engaged in an intense diplomatic dispute in 2001, when first edition of the controversial schoolbooks were authorized by Japanese government to be used in schools.

The textbook that Tokyo adopted last Thursday is a revised version that is said to be worse than the earlier one in not correctly describing Japan's wartime crimes, such as sex slavery, forced labor and human experiments.

Many South Koreans still harbor deep resentment against Japan for its harsh colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945 when many young Korean women were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers. Several million Koreans were forcibly taken to Japan as laborers during the period.

Source: Xinhua

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