Four South Korean ruling and opposition lawmakers applied to the Tokyo District Court on Thursday for an injunction to halt the sale of a controversial history textbook being published by Fuso Publishing Co.
The lawmakers, including Ham Seung Hui of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, sought the injunction over a book that critics say glorifies Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula and whitewashes atrocities that the Imperial Japanese Army committed before and during World War II.
The textbook was the most controversial of eight that the government approved for use in junior high schools in Japan from next April. It was compiled by nationalist academics of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.
If the court accepts the application, the lawmakers said, they will take the same steps against seven other Japanese publishers producing the history textbooks and file damages suits against the publishers, if necessary.
According to their injunction request, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry interpreted historical facts for self-centered reasons.
It also said the government’s approval of the textbooks violated the clauses on textbook approval standards agreed on with neighboring countries.
After filing the application, Song Young Gil, one of the four lawmakers, told reporters that bilateral relations between South Korea and Japan should not be hindered by the textbook issue.
“We are not trying to take up the issue emotionally or attempting to interfere in (Japan’s) domestic affairs,” he said.
“But we do not believe freedom of publishing would be protected by infringing victims’ humanity.”
On Tuesday, South Korea formally demanded that Japan make 35 revisions to the eight history textbooks, including 25 revisions to the book prepared by Fuso Publishing.
Japan’s approval of the textbooks prompted South Korea, China and other Asian countries to unleash a torrent of condemnation for what they say are distorted descriptions of historical facts and the glorification of Japanese imperialism.
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