Japan's education ministry approves problematic textbooks

08:01, March 31, 2011      

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All seven civics textbooks approved for junior high school students teach that China's Diaoyu Islands and the South Korean Dokdo islets belong to Japan, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday.

The two isles are known as the Senkaku Islands and the Takeshima islets in Japan.

Approval of the textbooks sparked demonstrations outside Japan's embassy in South Korea's capital city of Seoul, according to local media.

China has made itself clear many times on many occasions that the Diaoyu Islands have been an integral part of Chinese territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a press conference earlier this month that China's position on the Diaoyu Island is clear and consistent.

Four of the ministry-approved geography books that will enter the national curriculum next spring describe the Japan-claimed Takeshima islands as sovereign Japanese territory, although they do make reference to the conflict between Japan and South Korea.

Additionally, according to all geography, history and civics textbooks,four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido -- known as the Kuril Islands in Moscow and the Northern Territories in Tokyo -- are Japanese territories.

The Japanese education ministry's approval of the textbooks came after the first screening of junior high school textbooks in six years.

The updated textbooks make many more references to the "Senkaku" Islands in the East China Sea and "Takeshima" islets in the Sea of Japan than their soon-to-be-replaced older versions.

"We express a strong protest and demand an immediate retraction of the territorial claim," said South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung Jae.

Cho said the textbooks "rationalize and glorify a distorted view of history" and that's "deeply disappointing and regrettable."

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan was to summon Masatoshi Muto, the Japanese ambassador to South Korea, later Wednesday to deliver a formal protest on the issue, local media reported.

Source: Xinhua
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