South Korean civic groups and members of the public participated in rallies on Tuesday protesting against Japan's approval of extbooks that claim the Tokto islets belong to Japan.
The Japanese government approved the civics textbooks on Tuesday including that of Fusosha Publishing Inc., which contains a photo of Tokto with a caption claiming the islets as part of Japan.
The approval was made although S. Korea has demanded Japan revise the problematic content.
Students and civic group activists held a rally at Tapgol Park in Chongno, denouncing Japan's approval of the textbooks.
"Japan has continued to invade neighboring countries and is not reflecting on its behavior even after its defeat in World War II,'' the students said.
They claimed Japan has brought instability, not friendship to neighboring countries and cannot be a leading nation in the international community.
A civic association of S. Korean studies held a media briefing in front of the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul to denounce the textbook they said was made more distorted.
"In 2001, when the conservative textbooks were published in Japan, the books were adopted by only 0.039 percent of schools in Japan. It was due to the power of people who love peace and think rationally,'' the group said in its statement.
"We urge Japan's parents and teachers to reject the textbook whose production was politically motivated by extremists. The courage to reject the textbook will be praised by people all over the world,'' it added.
The group also held a performance where its members destroyed a model of the textbook.
Another civic group Asia Peace and History Education Network announced a joint statement with Chinese and Japanese civic group members.
They urged the Korean government to establish an organization to solve the disputes about history in Northeast Asia and suggest a collective understanding of history.
The network plans to visit the Japanese Embassy today to submit its written protest and stage campaigns urging Japanese people not to adopt the textbooks.
Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak also made a statement saying, "Germany has tried to compensate for their wrongdoings during World War II and led Europe's integration through reflection. Japan should apologize for their past misdeeds and contribute to Asia's prosperity and happiness.''
An Internet user suggested a boycott against Japanese products as some Chinese do.
Another user criticized the S. Korean government for belated countermeasures, saying it has not properly handled the issue in the first place. "If the government had made a firm stand on Tokto, Japan would not keep claiming the islets,'' the user said.