Japanese Foreign Min. Urged to Address Row over Textbooks, Local Suffrage
Seoul yesterday urged Tokyo to pay more attention to clearing obstacles to the development of bilateral ties, such as a prolonged impasse in granting local suffrage to permanent Korean residents in Japan and moves to include allegedly biased views in Japanese history textbooks.
Foreign Affairs-Trade Minister Lee Joung-binn made the remarks to his Japanese counterpart Yohei Kono in a phone call marking the start of the New Year.
Lee called for Japan's ``thoughtful considerations'' on those issues, which emerged as obstacles to the development of future-oriented ties.
``Despite the minister's appeal, there is a slimmer chance of the bill on local suffrage being passed at the Diet this year,'' a ministry official said.
Originally, many Japanese politicians sought to pass legislation last year to grant permanent Korean residents the right to vote in local elections, but failed to win approval from a few political leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party.
In 1998, Japan's three ruling coalition parties reached a consensus concerning the awarding of more political rights to Koreans, many of whom have lived there since World War II.
With regard to the controversy over school textbooks, Seoul already expressed concerns over a Japanese move to produce school textbooks that contain what it sees as distorted or erroneous descriptions of Japan's modern history, especially about its occupation of the Korean peninsula. …