The Foreign Ministry believes a junior high school history book written by nationalists will not spark diplomatic problems with China or South Korea as the two countries have not demanded the text be rewritten, ministry officials said Saturday.
The ministry intends to closely monitor the situation for the time being because uncertainties remain over whether public anger will fade in the two countries, the officials said.
One official said, “The screening process has been disclosed and we believe it has been understood well that the screening was conducted precisely” under government provisions that demand the feelings of neighboring countries be considered.
Seoul appears to be prioritizing the maintenance of stable relations with Japan in a bid to promote dialogue with North Korea and pursue a future-oriented policy toward Tokyo, the officials said.
On Tuesday, an Education Ministry panel approved a revised version of the textbook, which critics say glosses over and justifies Japan’s military aggression against its neighbors before and during World War II.
The panel asked that 137 amendments be made from the original draft, most of which were in the modern history section. The number of amendments ordered for the book, to be published by Fuso Publishing Inc., was more than five times the average for other publishers.
The book was compiled mainly by members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a group of nationalist historians and their supporters.
The section covering Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula in 1910 was one that was targeted for revision. The draft initially said the annexation was conducted “legally by following international rules,” but the final version says Japan annexed Korea “with arms, dismissing Korean protests.”
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