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School text books fuel South Korea-Japan island dispute

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School text books fuel South Korea-Japan island dispute


South Korean protesters gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Monday (April 6). They are angry at Japan for approving school textbooks they say emphasise Japanese claims to disputed islands located between the two countries.

The small group of islands,Liancourt Rocks, is called Dokdo by South Korea, and Takeshima by Japan.

They have been the focus of a long territorial dispute. Seoul sees Japan’s claims as stemming from its colonial past.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang said Japan is not willing to be a responsible neighbour.

“The Japanese government is in effect saying it will repeat its mistakes of the past when it injects distorted historical views and territorial claims based on a generation of Japanese who are growing up. It shows Japan isn’t willing to play a responsible role as a trusted neighbouring country.”

The tiny islets are important because they’re located in a rich fishing area where there are though to be large, unexplored gas reserves.

The Japanese education minister said all text books would have references to the islands as being part of Japan’s territory.

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