• The Associated Press

  • SHARE

Chinese textbooks are “extreme” in their interpretation of history, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said Sunday, a day after China’s president demanded Tokyo do more to improve relations damaged by new Japanese textbooks that allegedly whitewash wartime atrocities.

Machimura meanwhile hailed the Saturday meeting between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Jakarta, saying it has paved the way to start repairing battered ties that have led to anti-Japan protests across China.

“From the perspective of a Japanese person, Chinese textbooks appear to teach that everything the Chinese government has done has been correct,” Machimura said on a TV Asahi talk show. “There is a tendency toward this in any country, but the Chinese textbooks are extreme in they way they uniformly convey the ‘our country is correct’ perspective.”

Machimura also defended Japan’s textbooks, saying they don’t gloss over Japan’s invasion of other Asian countries as alleged, and expressed dismay with the lopsided view of history taught in Chinese schools.

Tokyo’s approval of new school textbooks that China claims play down wartime atrocities sparked weeks of anti-Japan protests by tens of thousands of people across China. Chinese also are upset over Japan’s campaign for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Hoping to mend the rift, Koizumi on Friday gave a “heartfelt apology” for Japan’s wartime aggression at the start of the Asian-African summit in Jakarta — the most public penitence in a decade. But Hu on Saturday told Koizumi that Tokyo has to back up its apologies with actions.

Machimura said Tokyo would officially inform Beijing what it thought of China’s textbooks after it fully reviews them. Machimura said Tang Jiaxuan, China’s state councilor and a former foreign minister, had invited him to do so during a recent discussion about teaching history.

He said he was confident the disputes with China could be resolved.

“They’re next door. We can’t move. They’re important and we’re important to each other,” he said. “If we make this clear, we can handle the individual issues.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW