TOKYO, April 4 -- Japanese government on Friday approved new elementary school textbooks claiming the disputed Diaoyu Islands as part of Japan's territory, arousing strong denunciation from China immediately.
The revised textbooks, which will be used from the next academic year starting April 2015 for fifth and sixth grade students, won approval from Japan's Education Ministry.
All social studies textbooks approved for use in Japanese elementary schools next year will mention the Diaoyu Islands known as Senkaku islands in Japan, according to Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily.
Seven of the 14 textbooks submitted for screening clearly state that the Diaoyu Islands are "inherent territories of Japan," the paper said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei urged Japan to stop provocations and teach correct historical views to young people.
"Japan should tell its next generation true facts about the Diaoyu Islands that they are China's and they were illegally stolen," Hong told a press briefing.
He added that China was extremely concerned about a Japanese Foreign Ministry policy paper, which also claimed the islands as Japan's.
Hong reiterated that China's stance on its relations with Japan was consistent and clear.
The tough situation of bilateral relations was caused by repeated provocation by the Japanese side on issues regarding history and the Diaoyu Islands, he said.
"We urge the Japanese side to honestly face up to and reflect on its history of militarist aggression and stop infringing upon China's territorial sovereignty," he said, calling on Japan to correct its mistakes by concrete actions.
The Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea have been an inherent part of Chinese territory since ancient times.
Japan occupied them during the Sino-Japanese War in 1895. After World War II, the Diaoyu Islands were returned to China in accordance with such international legal documents as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. They have been under Japan's administrative control since 1972 but the fact that they are China's inherent territories will never change.
In addition, the textbooks all lay claim to the Takeshima island chain, known as the Dokdo in South Korea, which is at the center of a territorial dispute between Tokyo and Seoul.
In contrast, there is only one textbook for fifth graders currently mentions the Takeshima and Senkaku islands.