By Kang Shin-who
Education Minister Kim Shin-il Wednesday protested against Japan's distortion of history in textbooks, in a letter sent to Bummei Ibuki, the Japanese minister of education, sports, culture, science and technology, yesterday, through the Korean embassy in Japan.
In the letter, Kim expressed serious regret over the involvement of the Japanese ministry in distorting historical facts in school textbooks.
Kim also expressed his concern that the distortion would cause Japanese students to have an incorrect understanding of history and negatively affect friendly ties between the two countries.
When Japan made public samples of high school textbooks for the 2008 schoolyear in late April, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development found that the Japanese government was involved in distorting historical facts.
According to the ministry, the Japanese ministry requested publishers to describe the South Korean islets of Dokdo as Japanese territory, and remove facts that South Korean and other Asian women were forced to serve as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
``We found that a draft textbook originally depicted the issue of Dokdo's sovereignty as being subject to negotiations between the two countries, but was changed by the Japanese ministry during the screening to claim the territory belongs to Japan, Koo Nan-hee, a ministry official said.
``Also, the Japanese government had the textbooks describe the `comfort women’ issue as `settled matter’ from `matter to be settled,’’’ she added.
Japan has doggedly claimed South Korea’s Dokdo Island as part of its territory and dismissed official mobilization of ``comfort women,’’ a Japanese euphemism for military sex slaves.
Some 200,000 young women were forced to serve Japanese soldiers during their invasion of Asia in the last century. The majority of the victims were Koreans, whose country was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Embassy in Korea was unavailable to comment on the Korean government’s action.