In Japan’s latest attempt to lay claim to disputed regions in the East China Sea, the country will modify teaching manuals in its schools to state that the two sets of islands are part of its sovereign territory.
Teaching manuals at junior schools and high schools in the country will be required to state that the Senkaku islands and Takeshima islets, as they are known in Japan, are “integral parts of Japanese territory,” media reports said Tuesday, citing Japan’s education ministry. China claims the Senkaku islands as its own and calls them the Diaoyus, while the Takeshima islets are known as Dokdo in South Korea, which controls them.
"It is extremely important that the children who will bear our future can properly understand our territory," Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told a news conference, Reuters reported, adding that Shimomura said Japan would use diplomacy to explain the decision to its neighbors.
Japan's decision to revise its textbooks is to blame for the country's strained ties with its neighbors, China’s Xinhua noted, adding that the decision reflects Japan's attitude toward its militarist past.
The text in the current manuals, which are typically revised once in 10 years, mention the Takeshima islets only briefly while there is no mention of the Senkaku islands, Japan Daily Press reported, adding that the latest changes would include adding the Japanese government’s stand on the issue.
"Our government strongly condemns this and asks Japan to immediately withdraw it," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters, and summoned the Japanese ambassador to lodge a formal protest.
Recently, Japan’s ties with China and South Korea were subjected to fresh pressures when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead but is considered a symbol of Japanese aggression during World War II.
"We must make efforts to politely explain our position to both nations and seek their understanding," Shimomura said, about the decision to revise teaching manuals, Reuters reported.