News Scope; Korea-Japan Education Ministers Talks Fire
Korean and Japanese education ministers held talks Monday in Seoul, the first since the former was liberated from the latter's colonial rule in 1945, but received a flurry of criticism from the public on both sides.
The highest concern of the Korean people was that the two ministers would discuss history textbooks of Japanese schools which contain a number of distortions on Korean history and bilateral relations, including colonial rule.
The core but thorny issue was excluded from the formal agenda although it is important for both countries to have constructive relations in the new millennium, a history expert said.
It is reported that the issue was dropped from the agenda at the request of Japanese Education Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.
This was contrary to the repeated demand of Korea to correct distorted history textbooks involving Korea. Japan has been lukewarm on the issue.
Timed with the education ministers' talks, the Korea Education Research Institute (KERI) reported in a paper that the textbooks used by Japanese middle and high schools still distort history related to Korea.
This determination results from a review of seven Japanese history books and another seven world history books currently used by Japanese middle and high schools.
For example, Japanese textbooks deny Korean ancient history and have deleted references to the forced sex slavery of Korean women to Japanese soldiers during World War II.
One more example KERI cited is the name ``Choson Kingdom'' (1392-1910) which is described as ``Choson of Yi'' or ``Yi Dynasty,'' phrases which were coined to rationalize Japanese colonial rule.
Dr. Lee Chan-hee of KERI said, ``Any education ministers' talks are meaningless if the textbook issue is not tackled. Furthermore, this was the first education ministers' talks in more than half a century.''
Korean Minister Moon Yong-lin was reported to have been rejected over the proposal of the adoption of the Korean language in the college entrance exams in Japan as a second foreign language, the same as Japanese has been adopted in Korea. …