Government project aims to promote translations of Japanese books abroad


The government has launched a project to translate Japanese-language books about culture, history and advanced technology to bolster international understanding of the country.

The government is using the project to counter increased efforts by China and South Korea to publish works with their viewpoints about history and territorial issues with Japan.

The Cabinet Office set aside ¥80 million in the budget for this fiscal year to help fund translations of Japanese books, which is difficult for private companies because the profit margin is poor.

The government plans to introduce books that target general readers and works aimed at experts.

Topics will include “washoku” Japanese food and technologies used in precision equipment and the auto industries, an official said Thursday, noting that the government eventually wants to expand the categories of books for English translation to include those about territorial issues.

A panel was formed late last month with seven diplomatic and scientific experts who by the end of the month will each recommend a few books to be translated. The government will then decide which ones to have translated into English.

The government plans to donate the translated books to libraries and research institutes overseas.

South Korea earlier this month said it will publish a white paper about the country’s women forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels, and plans to translate it into English and other languages.

China issued a white paper in September 2012 that claimed the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea belong to China. It came along with an English version.

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