[EDITORIALS]Textbook Case Requires CautionHarsh criticism and emotional statements abound in reaction to the Japanese government's refusal to heed to our request to revise controversial Japanese history textbooks. Criticism and outrage are warranted since the Japanese government is allowing the Japanese to give their children a wrong historical perspective by beautifying their past and glossing over the shameful part of their history. Japan should examine closely why President Kim Dae-jung who actively worked toward making the relationship between Korea and Japan a future-oriented one had to say, "This cannot be allowed to happen."
However, we are concerned that despite the president's order to resolutely and calmly resolve the dispute, South Korean government officials are spewing out extreme words. The senior Blue House official who said "Japan will forever regret the current incident" should rethink whether his statement was diplomatically appropriate. The same thing applies to Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo, who dubbed the official Japanese response to the South Korean request for textbook revision "a sly tactic." Former President Kim Young-sam's statement in 1995 that he would make sure "to fix the Japanese attitude" had been a lingering problem throughout his tenure.
If the textbook controversy were to have been resolved verbally, it would have been resolved a long time ago. What the South Korean government needs now are not harsh words but a meaningful action. The government should look back and see whether the Japanese wouldn't laugh at its anger and say, "The Koreans will fall on their own if enough time passes." Diplomatic statements should be carefully worded and the government should exhibit its resolve through detailed counter suggestions.
There are a lot of haphazard counter-measures that have little chance of being implemented or effective. There are also a lot of measures that are aimed at merely placating the public. In such time as this, the government should save its words and implement practical, thought-over measures, step by step. What we really need right now is practical policies with strategic thinking and their appropriate implementation.