• Kyodo


South Korean Ambassador to Japan Choi Sang Yong, who was recalled to Seoul on April 10 in protest at the recent approval of some Japanese history textbooks, was to return to his Tokyo post this morning, the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said.

“During his stay in his home country, the ambassador to Japan reported on Japan’s announcement of the screening results of history textbooks and consulted on responses (to the textbook issue),” a news release said.

Choi will carry a letter from Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Han Seung Soo to Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, it said.

A Japanese education ministry panel authorized eight history textbooks on April 3 for use beginning with the 2002 school year, including one compiled by a group of nationalist historians.

The approval provoked strong condemnation from Seoul, which says the textbooks distort facts and gloss over atrocities committed by the Japanese military before and during World War II.

Meanwhile, Yonhap News Agency reported that Han instructed Choi on Wednesday to urge the Japanese government to revise the history textbooks.

In the letter, Han expresses deep regret over the approval of the “distorted” history textbook, which he says may disrupt the friendly ties between the two countries, according to Yonhap.

Han says that South Korea will provide details of its stance on the issue after a final report on the controversy by a government task force is finalized, Yonhap said.

The task force charged with formulating Seoul’s response to the textbook issue will likely issue its final report in about a week.

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