Japan and South Korea will hold the inaugural meeting of their joint history research committee Saturday in Seoul to promote better mutual understanding of history among scholars, Foreign Ministry officials said Friday.

The committee, consisting of about 10 representatives from each side, will discuss how to proceed with the joint research and other logistic matters, according to the officials.

The panel members include university professors, history experts and researchers.

The body will meet about every other month and come up with a report on their work after about two years.

The group is being set up in light of bilateral disputes over the interpretation of historical events. The rows have centered on Japanese school history textbooks, which many say whitewash Japan’s atrocities against its Asian neighbors before and during World War II.

The joint research is designed to allow experts from the two countries to share their interpretations of history and better understand how and why they differ. But the committee’s report is not expected to reflect a unified interpretation, the officials said.

Also, the outcome won’t necessarily be reflected in the process of compiling Japanese textbooks, which are prepared by publishers and approved in a government screening system. In South Korea, the government compiles textbooks.

The joint research is in line with an agreement reached by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Kim Dae Jung during a summit in Seoul last October.

A Japan-South Korea panel of government and academic representatives to support the activities of the joint research, as well as other bilateral exchange programs for scholars and experts, took several months to select the members of the joint committee.

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