Repeat After Me, Class: The Senkaku Islands Belong to Japan

Tokyo changes textbooks to emphasize claims to disputed islands

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Japanese high school girls sitting in a classroom

Japan is to revise official high school teaching manuals to assert its territorial claims over disputed islands, in a move that has angered China and South Korea, AP reports.

The textbook revisions concern the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands, and the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan, which are claimed by South Korea, where they are known as the Dokdo Islands.

“Naturally, we must teach our own territory accurately to our children,” Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura said to media.

The foreign ministries of South Korea and China issued strong condemnations.

In South Korea, the ministry’s spokesman Cha Tai-young said that Japan “must not teach false history to the young generation and plant enmity and seeds of conflict with its neighbors,” while a spokeswoman in the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Japan to “respect historical facts” and “stop provocations.”

The revision of the teaching material is the latest addition to a long list of Japanese history textbook controversies. Most have been over the depictions of the actions of the Empire of Japan during the first half of the last century, with both China and South Korea claiming that Japan has whitewashed its World War II legacy and distorted the past. Textbook accounts of the Rape of Nanjing in 1937 — when Japanese soldiers killed several hundred thousand Chinese during a six-week bloodbath — have caused particular anomosity China and Japan.

[Associated Press]