[EDITORIALS]Insufficient words from JapanAmid rising tension over Japan’s claims to Dokdo and its distortions of history, the foreign ministers of Korea and Japan met yesterday in Pakistan. It was their first meeting since the Korea-Japan summit meeting last December in Ibuski, Japan, and the first since the recent controversies emerged. The two ministers reached a consensus that the current relationship between the countries is problematic, and that for the future of both countries and of Asia, the problems should not be allowed to drag on.
It is good that both countries are using diplomatic channels to find a solution, having agreed that the situation shouldn’t be allowed to come to a deadlock. However, we are very disappointed by Japan’s attitude toward the issues. Sophistry and excuses from Japan will not improve the relationship, and it will only worsen the lack of trust the world now has in Japan as a potential leader on the global stage.
If, as Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura alleges, Japan really does have a “self-examining soul” when it comes to the enormous physical and psychological damage it wreaked upon Asian countries in the past, then the present issues can be resolved easily. If Japan cancels Shimane prefecture’s designation of “Takeshima Day” ― which is an attempt to re-seize Dokdo, the first Korean territory taken by imperial Japan ― and if it deletes those passages in its history textbooks that state that Dokdo belongs to Japan, then the problem would be solved. Japan would also have to correct those portions in the textbooks that beautify its record of aggression and brutality against neighboring countries.
But we fail to see any such sincere, detailed efforts from Mr. Machimura. He only emphasized that the current situation is not desirable for the friendship of the two countries. That is not the kind of position Mr. Machimura should have taken, given that there are mounting allegations that the Japanese Ministry of Education led the efforts to distort history in its middle school textbooks.
Japan should be aware that it cannot salvage the current situation by mere diplomatic rhetoric. The reactionary action of the Japanese government only enrages Koreans, conscientious Japanese people and the citizens of the world. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who wants to have a Korea-Japan summit meeting in June, should make a decision in good faith.