[EDITORIALS]Dealing with Japan’s bad booksIt is suspected that the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture led the effort to describe the Dokdo islands as belonging to Japan in middle school textbooks.
If the suspicion turns out to be true, then it will be a serious issue. That would be qualitatively different from the distortions of history initiated by some right-wing Japanese groups or offensive remarks by some reactionary politicians.
It would be surprising if the Japanese government ― which is supposed to calm right-wing groups and resolve the problem ― took an active role in distorting history.
The Japanese government so far has claimed, “the contents of textbooks are subject to the judgment of authors and editors, and we cannot interfere with the writing process.” But according to witnesses, the Japanese Education Ministry both directly and indirectly influenced textbook publishers such as Fushosa so that their books could be change for the worse.
The Japanese government denies the charge saying, “We asked the publishers to correct the textbook contents as they do not agree with the government’s official position.” But the Japanese publishers say, “We edited the textbooks on the orders of the Education Ministry.”
The current case reminds us of an example in history in which the Japanese government turned a blind eye to militaristic propaganda from right-wing groups that led to the horrors of war in Asia a century ago.
We do not understand why Japan is behaving this way now. How does it help Japan to beautify its obviously wrong brutalities from the imperial era and make its neighbors upset? And why does it want to cause a territorial dispute by claiming that Dokdo, which it seized during the colonization of the Korean Peninsula, is its territory?
The people and government of Korea are compelled to remain calm but must take a firmer stance against Japan.
We should cooperate with other countries and highlight the illegitimate claims of Japan. We should also move forward with a campaign to make Dokdo a populated territory where everyday life takes place.
The Korean government should find out whether the Japanese government really led the effort to distort history and, if so, prepare countermeasures. If the Korean government was deceived by the Japanese government’s claim that “we cannot interfere with the textbook issues,” then it should reconsider its strategy.