[EDITORIAL] We Need to Do More Than Deplore

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[EDITORIAL] We Need to Do More Than Deplore

Recent moves in Japan to authorize the publication of an obviously inaccurate history textbook should be strongly and actively opposed. Once distortion of historical facts is made justifying the Japanese annexation of Korea, and glossing over the atrocities committed during the invasion of Asia, it will certainly cancel out all ongoing efforts to improve relations between Korea and Japan. Rather than simply deploring Japan's foolish attempt to glorify the past, the government, together with politicians, academia and civic groups should react in no uncertain terms in order to emphasize the truth.

The Japanese have been tenaciously trying to distort their recent history for a long time. In 1982, there was an attempt to blur the harsh reality of the word "invasion" by substituting the softer term "advance," abandoned in the face of strong criticism from neighboring countries. Since then, there has been a constant stream of further falsehoods that exacerbated feelings in the countries victimized by Japanese aggression. Some Japanese even openly expressed nostalgia for the days of Japanese militarism.

The textbook issue is all the more serious, coming at a time when Japanese society seems to be tilting to the right. While the Japanese government has apparently approved the latest textbook, at the instigation of rightist forces, some rational Japanese have recently disclosed that the words "invasion" and "army comfort women" have been deleted or minimized from existing textbooks.

Also repulsive are the claim that the war was not an act of invasion but a policy to stabilize Northeast Asia and the statement that the Nanking Massacre is a fabrication.

A strong response from our government is imperative. About a hundred ruling and opposition party lawmakers have submitted a parliamentary resolution proposing a halt to activities in the Korea-Japan Lawmakers' Alliance, a reappraisal of the lifting of the ban on Japanese mass culture, the withdrawal of the concession to name Japan's head an "emperor," and the reappraisal of ongoing youth exchanges. The government should give this move its utmost support, with many citizens assisting in this campaign.
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