[EDITORIALS]The Japanese Are ShamelessWe are disgusted with the lack of sincerity and reasonableness of the Japanese government as we observe the recent moves in Japan regarding the distorted history textbooks and the diplomatic dispute between Korea and Japan over fishing in the waters near the southern Kuril Islands.
The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a nationalist group that prepared the controversial textbook, proudly announced Monday that it would voluntarily make revisions on nine points in the history text. The group announced that five of the nine revisions concerned Korea. It said it would revise the description of Choson from "a country which once submitted to China," to "a country under the strong political influence of China." It also announced it would delete the expression that some Koreans agreed with the Japanese annexation of Korea. Although the group pretended that it made sincere efforts, it failed to mention the so-called "comfort women," and the revision is a far cry from our demand to make revisions on 25 points.
Despite such a situation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda praised the group's action, making us suspect that there were prior consultations between the group and the Japanese government. Until now, the Japanese government repeatedly emphasized that revision of the textbook was impossible, citing the rules of its approval system. If Japan expected to escape a turbulent reaction to its history distortions with the revision, it should think again. The Japanese government is scheduled to announce its official standpoint on Korea and China's demands to revise the textbooks by the end of this week. If Japan is still unwilling to change the texts, it will be responsible for distorting history.
It is also unacceptable that Japan raised concerns about Korea's fishing in the water near the southern Kuril Islands. Russia, in fact, has jurisdiction over the waters and Korea has paid fishing fees. Japan itself also pays fishing fees to Russia under the guise of a cooperative fund to conserve maritime resources. Under these circumstances, it is shameless act for Japan to demand that Korea stop fishing in the area, ignoring international law and principles in the global community. If Japan believes that exercising dominion over the four islands north of Hokkaido is such an important matter, it should have shown its good faith at least by providing alternative fishing zones to Korea.