By Lee Tae-hoon
A Korean American has filed a petition against New Jersey for allowing a Japanese school in the north eastern coastal state to use a textbook that distorts historical facts about Dokdo, Korea¡¯s easternmost islets.
¡°The New Jersey Japanese School (NJJS) uses a textbook which teaches that Dokdo Island, known in Japan as Takeshima, is a territory of Japan and that Korea is illegally occupying it,¡± Choi Jay claimed in a petition submitted to the Commission of Education in the United States on Sept. 21.
According to Kim & Bae, a law firm which is handling the case, he claims that the NJJS has about 90 students, including children of Japanese diplomats and U.S. citizens.
Japan forcefully incorporated Dokdo into the Shimane Prefecture in 1905 without notifying its decision to Korea for its military campaign during the Russo-Japanese War. Tokyo still claims Dokdo, which has been under the control of Korea since the latter¡¯s regaining of independence in the 1940s, to be their territory based on the ¡°false grounds¡± that the islets had remained unclaimed by any country.
Choi says in his petition that New Jersey, the New Jersey Japanese School, the Board of Education of Oakland, and the New Jersey Department of Education have neglected their responsibility to provide an unbiased education.
¡°By teaching children that Dokdo Island is a Japanese territory that is being illegally occupied by Korea, the NJJS is presenting a biased and intellectually dishonest account of history and is taking a political position favoring Japan's self-proclaimed view,¡± the petition read.
¡°The teaching is a form of propaganda and is political in nature, designed to influence the thinking of children concerning a political issue.¡±
Choi demanded the State of New Jersey and the Board of Education of Oakland to stop providing funding for purchasing textbooks and providing nursing services as the social studies curriculum at the Japanese school undermines requirements for teaching.
¡°As a direct and proximate result of this method of indoctrination, children are subtly being conditioned,¡± he said. ¡°This is contrary to the best interests of the educational development of children.¡±