Japanese university apologizes for calling Confucius Institute spy agency

08:24, June 12, 2010      

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Dobashi Yoshikuni, director of the school board of Japan's Osaka Sangyo University on June 10, signed and issued a written apology on behalf of the university for an employee who called the Confucius Institute a spy agency that collects cultural intelligence, according to the report from the Japanese newspaper Kansai Chinese Times written in the Chinese language.

The apology said: "Shigesato Toshiyuki, former director of the university affairs board, said in a statement that the Confucius Institute is a spy agency established to gather cultural intelligence. Osaka Sangyo University hereby apologizes for his inappropriate and insensitive remarks, which caused many problems. We guarantee that similar incidents will never happen again."

Confucius Institutes are built in foreign countries and jointly run by China and local universities with the authorization of the Office of Chinese Language Council International (known as "Hanban" for short).

In April 2009, Osaka Sangyo University tried to adjust its management pattern to solve the problems in assets operation, so it asked the Confucius Institute to move to another campus of the university.

However, the governing body of the Confucius Institute found it difficult and complicated to do so, and said that "they will make a decision after consulting with Shanghai International Studies University and the Chinese government."

Osaka Sangyo University sent a notice on Dobashi Yoshikuni's behalf to the Confucius Institute in late March 2010, which said, "We have no choice but to abolish Confucius Institute."

The faculty and staff and other representatives of Osaka Sangyo University held a consultation on April 27. Toshiyuki, secretary for university affairs, said at the consultation, "Although the Confucius Institute is not an invasion by the Chinese government, it can be seen as a 'soft landing' for China's expansionism."

He also said, "We should recognize Hanban as a cultural spy department and should not cooperate with it."

These speeches soon aroused intense dissatisfaction among Chinese students at the university. Osaka Sangyo University asked Toshiyuki to resign on June 1.

A Chinese student in Japan said, "This was the individual behavior of Toshiyuki, former secretary for university affairs of Osaka Sangyo University. He has already paid a price for it, and the apologetic attitude of the school leaders is very genuine. I hope it will not affect the friendly communications between Osaka Sangyo University and China."

Chinanews.com.cn contributes to this article.

By People's Daily Online

Additional support provided by LOTO


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