• Kyodo

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A group in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, promoting friendly ties with Paju in South Korea has agreed to Paju’s request to cancel a trip there because of the controversy brewing over a Japanese history textbook that offends Seoul, group officials said Sunday.

The private group, set up in the city southwest of Tokyo in spring last year to seek sister-city ties with Paju, had planned to send some 30 people to the city for a three-day trip from May 21, they said.

But municipal officials of Paju, northwest of Seoul, asked the group at the end of last month to postpone the visit, saying they were concerned the trip could spark protests over the textbook.

“We regretfully accepted the requested postponement because how the textbook issue will be resolved is unknown,” a group official said. “We hope to realize the visit when the problem is solved.”

The textbook, compiled by nationalist historians, was the most controversial of eight history textbooks that the Japanese government approved for use in junior high schools from April next year.

South Korea, China and other Asian countries have fiercely condemned the textbooks, saying they distort historical facts and glorify Japan’s prewar imperialism.

Shrine plan slammed

BEIJING (Kyodo) North Korea’s state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station criticized Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for his plan to visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, calling it “a scheme to revive militarism.”

Although the radio station, monitored in Beijing, did not directly name the prime minister, Koizumi told the Diet on Thursday that he will visit the memorial to Japan’s war dead as promised on Aug. 15, the day Japan surrendered in World War II.

The radio station described Yasukuni Shrine as a “symbol of Japan’s bloody militarism and overseas invasion.”

“The Japanese authorities . . . are vividly showing they are trying to take a full-fledged path toward criminal overseas invasion by reviving militarism,” the radio station said.

Koizumi did not clarify whether he would visit in his official capacity as prime minister or as a private citizen.

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