Textbooks Aimed at Raising Public Awareness of Territorial Issues

Article excerpt

It is a common practice for other countries to include all parts of their territories in school textbooks, according to a senior official at the Foreign Ministry. But Japan has not done so.

In 2008, when then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's administration first brought up the Takeshima issue in the education ministry's revised teaching manuals for its course of study, the South Korean government protested strongly, and refused to attend a foreign ministers' meeting. The country's ambassador to Japan temporarily returned to South Korea.

When similar manuals for high school teaching were revised under the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration in December 2009, the Takeshima issue was not mentioned. Regarding the Senkaku Islands, the government stated that because there was no sovereignty issue that needed resolution, the islands were not mentioned. Some middle school geography textbooks carry maps showing the islands but do not offer further explanation.

According to an opinion poll conducted by the government last year, only 63 percent of people were aware that the Takeshima islets are illegally occupied by South Korea, and only 66 percent were aware that the Senkaku Islands belong to Okinawa Prefecture. …