Tokyo is poised to claim the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo as part of its territory in this year's guidebook for public teachers and textbook publishers, according to a Japanese daily Sunday.
The booklet, updated every 10 years by Japan's state-run educational center, is expected to be completed as early as next month and be widely used as a mandatory guidebook for public schools starting in 2012, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Dokdo, whose waters are rich in natural resources, has long been the target of Japanese territorial claims. South Korea has stationed a police contingent on the islets for five decades to enforce its sovereignty and has moved to upgrade the docking facility there.
Political parties here have unanimously condemned the move as a ``challenge'' to South Korea's sovereignty.
``The guidelines may exert considerable influence on textbook manufacturers, and highlighting the unilateral views of one side as if it represents the truth should not be condoned,'' said Cho Yoon-seon, the spokeswoman for the ruling Grand National Party.
She added that distorted views on history were detrimental to the start of a new chapter in South Korea-Japan relations.
The conservative Lee Myung-bak administration, which took power in February, has moved to mend fences with traditional allies the United States and Japan after relations were strained under liberal governments in the past decade.
This view was echoed by the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), which said that it denounced the challenge to South Korean territorial rights and efforts to distort history.
``If such actions continue Japan must be held accountable for all negative developments in bilateral relations,'' said UDP spokeswoman Cha Young.
Other minor parties the Liberty Forward Party and the Democratic Labor Party criticized the move by the textbook authority to try to fabricate history.
They claimed that the latest action by Tokyo to falsify facts about Dokdo is linked to the ``ambiguous'' stance taken by the new administration.
``By proclaiming that Seoul will not take issue on the textbook and Dokdo issue, the incumbent administration brought about the current situation,'' a DLP party spokesperson said.
In addition to Dokdo, South Korea and Japan have clashed before over Tokyo's efforts to whitewash its history textbooks to erase its role in starting World War II and its colonization of Asia in the early part of the 20th century.