Assembly resolution lashes out at Japan’s moves

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Assembly resolution lashes out at Japan’s moves

The National Assembly has adopted a resolution condemning what it called Japan’s continuing efforts to “distort history” and “encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Korea,” in an overwhelming bipartisan move to cast a light on its neighbor’s recent attempts to whitewash its wartime past.

Lawmakers on Tuesday passed the strongly worded resolution with 181 of 182 votes cast. One vote was an abstention. The resolution calls on Japan to cease pursuits to downplay its transgressions in the early 20th century as well as territorial claims over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea, which Tokyo calls Takeshima.

The declaration, in particular, criticizes Japan’s recent approval of 18 middle school textbooks depicting Seoul’s sovereignty over the Dokdo islets as an “illegal occupation.”

It also expresses regrets about Japan’s efforts to distort history in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two nations, and adds that Japan has exhibited a two-sided attitude in bilateral relations.

“We strongly urge the Japanese government to withdraw its approval of school textbooks that state that Dokdo belongs to Japan and its decision to apply that distortion to all middle school classes,” the resolution reads.

While the majority of lawmakers supported the resolution against Tokyo, it remains to be seen whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will heed Seoul’s parliamentary warning.

Experts say that a barometer for Abe’s willingness to mend ties with its neighbor will be whether he sincerely acknowledges Japan’s wartime aggressions and shows a willingness to atone during his scheduled address before the joint chambers of the U.S. Congress on April 29 in Washington.

His address to Congress is the first by a Japanese prime minister.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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