Ministry to Take Actions Against History Distortion by Japan, China
Seoul to Take Actions Against History Distortion
The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has pledged to take
action against attempts by Japan and China to distort history in textbooks.
The ministry yesterday said that it plans to launch a task force of
officials, scholars and experts to monitor history distortions by the two
countries and support activities by civic groups to fight the distortions.
The move came after a revised 2005 history textbook by Fuso Publishing Co. in
Japan sparked controversy for its attempt to gloss over Japan's wartime
The textbook was written by a group of rightwing Japanese scholars.
The task force will closely examine Japanese middle school history textbooks
which Japanese authorities will decide whether to approve by the end of this
The ministry is to invite Japanese educational officials and teachers to a
discussion on the matter in March.
The Academy of Korean Studies will also conduct seminars on March 18-21 with
Japanese education-related officials to curb attempts to whitewash Japanese
In addition, the ministry will launch a team of more than 30 local and
foreign scholars to contribute stories about history distortion to newspapers of
both Korea and Japan.
The ministry has vowed to take action in early April when Japan is expected
to announce its approval of the textbooks and to use all means to stop Japan
from adopting textbooks that distort Korean history, in cooperation with civic
group activists and scholars.
The ministry also plans to expand the function and the period of a joint
history committee consisting of experts from Korea, Japan and China.
It will also set up a history educational division and will review the
distortions in textbooks in joint research projects.
Around May, the education ministry will publish and distribute leaflets to
raise public awareness of the issue.
It also plans to take extraordinary measures against the move for history
distortion by China in Koguryo, supporting research
institutes such as the Koguryo Research Foundation and
seeking ways for academic exchanges with North Korea.
Koguryo was an ancient Korean kingdom stretching from
the upper Korean Peninsula to northeast China, inlcuding Jilin, Liaoning and
Heilongjiang provinces between 37 B.C. and 668 A.D.
Koreans have no doubt that the kingdom is part of Korean history, but some
Chinese scholars have recently claimed that it was a regional kingdom that
belonged to China.
Former Education and Human Resources Development Minister Ahn Byung-young
sent a letter expressing concern over the move to gloss over its history in
their textbooks to the Japanese education ministry last September.
Ahn also set up a task force to deal with history distortion in textbooks in
cooperation with a joint history committee of Korea and Japan and the Academy of
By Chung Ah-young
/ Staff Reporter
(Korea Times 2005-3-6)