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Taiwan government to use new wording for Japanese colonial period

Kyodo

Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, or Cabinet, instructed all government agencies Monday to begin calling the 50-year Japanese colonial rule of the island as the “Japanese occupation period” in official documents.

The announcement came ahead of an Education Ministry decision over whether to also change the “Japan-governed period” in high school history books to the “Japanese occupation period.”

Education Ministry Secretary-General Wang Tsuo-tai has recommended that the ministry’s review committee consider allowing both terms to be used in textbooks.

After President Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang returned to power in 2008, pro-unification politicians and academics have urged the government to refer to the 50 years of colonial rule as the “Japanese occupation period.”

Three pro-unification publishers recently took the case to the legislature and the government watchdog, the Control Yuan, after textbooks they planned to publish failed to pass the scrutiny of screeners at the Education Ministry in January.

Ma said that although he is not against using the term “the Japan-governed period,” he has used the term “Japanese occupation period” since childhood.

While the Education Ministry’s review committee is still deliberating the issue, the Executive Yuan announced Monday that from now on all government agencies will refer to the Japanese colonial era as the “Japanese occupation period.”

Pro-independence activists argue that Japan lawfully governed Taiwan from 1895 to 1945 after China’s Qing Dynasty ceded the island to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki.