중앙데일리

Japanese textbooks reinflame Dokdo feud

일, 모든 초등 교과서 ‘독도 = 일본땅’ 명기

Mar 31,2010
Japanese Ambassador Toshinori Shigeie waits for South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan in Seoul yesterday. [NEWSIS]
Seoul and Tokyo are set for another round in their decades-long territorial dispute over a set of rocky islets in the East Sea after the Japanese government yesterday approved five elementary school social studies textbooks that describe Dokdo as Japanese territory.

Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan summoned Japan’s top envoy to Seoul, Toshinori Shigeie, to file an official complaint over Tokyo’s claim to the islets, known as Takeshima in Japan.

One of the five textbooks approved Tuesday for use in 2010 by Japanese fifth graders says South Korea “illegally occupies” the islets.

In a 15-minute meeting, Yu expressed “deep disappointment,” saying Japan’s approval of the school textbooks could put a serious strain on Korea-Japan relations, according to Jang Won-sam, chief of the Northeast Asian bureau at the Foreign Ministry. Emotions are already running high here because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.

Shigeie said he will thoroughly brief his government about Seoul’s complaint, but said both countries needed to make sure that the issue does not adversely affect overall relations, said Jang.

“Our government strongly protests the passage in Japanese elementary school textbooks that contains Japan’s wrongful claim to Dokdo, which historically, geographically and by international law is our territory, and we urge [Tokyo] to take steps to correct the error,” Kim Young-sun, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.

Kim added that Tokyo’s continued claim to the islets could also have a “negative effect” on improving bilateral ties between the two countries.

“The Japanese government has expressed its willingness to develop a future-oriented Korea-Japan partnership while looking history squarely in the face, so our government hopes Tokyo will put such willingness into clear action,” he said.

Previously, only three of the five Japanese textbooks for elementary students described Dokdo as Japanese territory, but now all five contain descriptions or maps that claim Japanese ownership of the islets, said a Foreign Ministry official who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“The Korean government believes the textbook approval was decided under the Japanese government’s guidelines for textbook publishers that were revised in 2008, telling them to specifically state their description of Japanese territory,” the official said.

The official added that Tokyo’s approval of the five textbooks was especially worrisome as they are the only available textbooks for elementary schools in Japan.

That mean more students there would start learning about Japan’s claim over Dokdo early in life.

Out of the 21 social studies textbooks used in Japanese middle schools, only four describe Dokdo as Japanese territory, while 12 out of 112 textbooks for high school students contain similar claims, the official said.

In 2008, Japan described Dokdo as Japanese territory in its revised curriculum guidelines for middle school social studies classes.


By Lee Min-yong [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

일본, 어릴 때부터 역사왜곡 교육


일본 정부가 모든 초등학교 사회 교과서에 독도가 ‘일본 땅’임을 명기하도록 했다. 이는 교육현장에서부터 독도 영유권 주장을 강화하려는 일본 정부의 최근 움직임을 반영한 것이다. 일본 문부과학성은 30일 초등학교 교과서 검정조사심의회를 열어 독도의 일본 영유권을 주장하는 내용의 내년도 초등학교 사회 교과서 5권의 검정을 모두 통과시켰다. 심의회는 “다케시마(竹島·독도의 일본식 표기)가 일본 땅이라는 점을 초등학생들에게 분명히 인식시키기 위해 지도에 다케시마를 일본 영토로 포함하는 경계선을 그을 것”을 검정 의견으로 제시했다.

유명환 외교통상부 장관은 이날 오후 시게이에 도시노리(重家俊範) 주한 일본대사를 불러 항의하고 검정 철회와 시정을 요구했다. 유 장관은 이 자리에서 “한·일 강제병합 100주년을 맞은 민감한 시기에 이 같은 검정 결과를 발표한 것은 새로운 한·일 관계 100년을 열어나가자는 양식 있는 대다수 양국 국민의 여망을 저버리는 일”이라며 “우려하지 않을 수 없다”고 지적했다.

지금까지 “다케시마를 한국이 불법으로 점거하고 있다”는 내용이 담긴 니혼분쿄(日本文敎)출판 5학년 사회 교과서 하(下)를 포함해 독도가 일본 땅이라고 주장해온 초등학교 교과서는 세 종류였다.
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