Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Japanese textbook and Dokdo (Takeshima)

South Korea and Japan have often experienced fierce clashes of national feelings over their perceptions of history and Dokdo Island (Takeshima).

As Hukuda cabinet embarked, subtle changes can be detected in Japan.
There have been growing voices in Japan calling for a type of education designed to instill a spirit of patriotism in young people. Textbook is in the center of this matter.
In this sense, the following news attracts my attention.

Japanese government recently decided to eliminate the contents about Dokdo (Takeshima) claim from newly published textbooks, according to Sankei Newspaper on 22 March. Dokdo (Takehsima) has been described as Japanese territory in the textbooks. In observation of teaching guideline for 2008 released from Ministry of Education in Japan on 21 March, issue of Dokdo and Senkaku islands, which are the territories in dispute with South Korea and China respectively, will be removed from the textbooks for Japanese students. Although it does not mean any progress or mutual agreement on this issue, this policy can be construed that PM Hukuda focus more on strenghthening (restoring) relations with its neighbors, South Korea and China.

I think it is desirable for Japan to solidify relations with South Korea and China. In that sense, it is definately a welcoming sign that Japan's recognition of its neighbors. However, if it is only to evade sensitive frictions, remaining their original standpoints without the efforts talking with relevant countries, this policy is likely to affect little in the long run.

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