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2008年7月15日 (火)


(Jul. 15, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Teach the truth: Takeshima part of Japan

学習指導解説書 「竹島」明記は遅いぐらいだ(7月15日付・読売社説)

It is the vital responsibility of the education system to teach the next generation accurate information about the country's territory and history.


An instruction manual for the education ministry's new curriculum guidelines for social studies at middle schools mentions for the first time that students should be taught that the disputed Takeshima group of islets, which South Korea calls Dokdo and claims as sovereign territory, are Japan's territory.


(Islet=小島) (sovereign=主権を有する)

The Takeshima islets are an integral part of our nation's territory historically and by international law. This is the position the Japanese government has steadfastly maintained.



The four Russian-held islands off eastern Hokkaido, known as the northern territories, have been described as part of Japan's territory not only in the education ministry's curriculum guidelines and in its instruction manual, but also in all 14 textbooks on geography and civics used in middle schools. Four textbooks have already carried descriptions of the Takeshima islets. Describing the Takeshima islets as part of Japan in the instruction manual should have been done much earlier.


(civics=公民 srachaiが学生のころはこの科目はなかった、比較的新しい科目だと思われる)

After reports on Japan's plan to mention the Takeshima islets in the curriculum instruction manual, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak expressed concern and the South Korean National Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the Japanese education ministry not to include mention of the Takeshima islets as an integral part of Japanese territory.



Diplomatic consideration


In the instruction manual, a direct description of the Takeshima islets as "an integral part of our nation's territory" was avoided.


The instruction manual calls for accurately treating "the northern territories as part of our nation's territory," while it instructs teachers "to provide a deeper understanding [of the Takeshima islets] as our nation's territory in the same manner as the northern territories." In this regard, the manual calls for teachers to refer to disagreement between Japan and South Korea over the Takeshima islets.


This shows a measure of a diplomatic consideration for South Korea. The South Korean government is strongly opposing Japan's move, saying that it has asked the South Korean Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul Hyun to return to Seoul in protest. We hope that Seoul responds to the matter in a calm manner.


By the mid-17th century, early in the Edo period (1603-1867), Japan had already established its sovereignty over the Takeshima islets. In 1905, the islets were incorporated into the jurisdiction of Shimane Prefecture with Cabinet approval.


sovereignty=主権、統治権) (jurisdiction=管轄権、支配権)


Seized territory


In 1952, shortly before the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which stipulates the post-World War II territory of Japan, went into effect, then South Korean President Syngman Rhee suddenly declared sovereignty over the waters around South Korea and drew a line in the Sea of Japan, claiming sovereignty over the Takeshima islets. Since then, South Korea has unlawfully occupied the islets.


South Korea is a neighboring country with which Japan has to closely cooperate on resolving the denuclearization of North Korea and the abduction of Japanese by North Korean agents.


However, the issue of what a national education system should provide to its people, including instruction on territorial issues, is one of national sovereignty. Diplomatic consideration belongs in a different category from an accurate conveyance to the next generation of the history and territory of a sovereign state.


(national sovereignty=国家主権) (conveyance=次世代への引継ぎ事項) (sovereign state=主権国家)

Different from the curriculum guidelines, the instruction manual is not legally binding. But it is significant because it will serve as a guideline for the editing of school textbooks by publishers and for classroom teaching.

On the basis of the spirit of the instruction manual, publishers have to commit themselves to provide easy-to-understand explanations in their textbooks while teachers have to instruct students with clarity.


(curriculum guidelines=解説書) (instruction manual=指導要領) (clarity=明瞭、明快)

Solving the territorial issue of sovereignty over the Takeshima islets is a difficult task. For this reason, it is vital that the Japanese people correctly understand the issue and can clearly argue Japan's stance to the international community.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 15, 2008)

20087150153  読売新聞)


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