The Korea Herald


S. Korea voices strong regrets over Japanese textbooks distorting wartime history

By Yonhap

Published : April 19, 2024 - 19:52

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Korea's foreign ministry Korea's foreign ministry

South Korea lodged a strong protest against Japan on Friday after Tokyo approved new school textbooks that downplay the coercive nature of its wartime atrocities and reinforce its territorial claims to Dokdo.

The foreign ministry also called in Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi to deliver the formal protest message after Tokyo's education ministry approved two history textbooks for middle school students.

The textbooks were said to have been approved last month, but the announcement of their approval was put on hold.

In a statement, Lim Soo-suk, spokesperson for the ministry, expressed "deep regrets" over the new textbooks, saying they contain "preposterous claims" over South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, and "absurd and false accounts" on issues, including Korean sexual slavery victims and forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Lim emphasized that Dokdo is clearly an integral part of South Korean territory historically, geographically and under international law, and said any sovereignty claims by Japan about Dokdo are entirely unacceptable.

"Furthermore, the ROK government strongly emphasizes that the Japanese government's authorization of a textbook full of content that glorifies Japan's past mistakes -- rather than apologizing for and repenting of them -- not only runs counter to the trend of improving bilateral relations between Korea and Japan but also is an irresponsible act of allowing the provision of education of distorted historical perspectives to the young generation," he said.

ROK stands for the South's official name, the Republic of Korea.

Lim added that South Korea has "deep concerns" over the prejudice that the young generation of Japan may come to have after being exposed to such biased and distorted education, and urged the Japanese government to take a more "responsible attitude" in educating its youth. (Yonhap)