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2014年1月30日 (木)

学習指導解説書 「尖閣」「竹島」の明記を起点に

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 29, 2014
Manuals should help educate students about Senkakus, Takeshima
学習指導解説書 「尖閣」「竹島」の明記を起点に(1月29日付・読売社説)

It is essential for children in this country to be encouraged to acquire an accurate knowledge about Japanese territory, given that they will become a pillar of our future.

The education ministry has revised instruction manuals for its course of study for middle and high schools to state that the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima islets constitute “inherent parts of our nation’s territory.” The reference is the first of its kind to be included in the teaching manuals devised by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

The new manuals also reiterate our nation’s stance on the Senkaku Islands, which this country has placed, in effect, under state control. Students “need to understand there exists no territorial issue to be resolved,” the manuals say.

Despite an increasing number of school textbooks that refer to the Senkakus and Takeshima, some textbooks still do not mention these islands.

Though the ministry’s instruction manuals are not legally binding unlike its course of study, the former serves as a guide for publishing houses as they edit textbooks, as well as for teachers when they give lessons. We hope the latest revision of the manuals will ensure all textbooks include appropriate references to the Senkakus and Takeshima.

The education ministry has every reason to improve the quality of teaching programs on the nation’s territorial integrity, based on the government’s official views on relevant issues. Doing so is also significant for producing people capable of presenting our nation’s position in the international community.

The previous instruction manuals stated that the group of Takeshima islets should be included as part of geographic learning in middle school social studies classes. In doing so, however, the manuals avoided using such a direct phrase as “inherent [part of our] territory.” Such an evasive approach was also evident in the manuals for high school geography.

The latter manuals only stated that the study of Takeshima should “be based on middle school studies.”

Neither the previous manuals for middle school studies nor those for high schools included any reference to the Senkakus.

Misleading notion

There is no denying that the manuals gave schoolteachers and administrators a misleading notion about territorial issues facing this country, prompting them to think that such problems should not necessarily be given importance.

Our nation established its claim over Takeshima no later than the mid-17th century—during the early Edo period (1603-1867). In 1905, Takeshima was annexed to Shimane Prefecture, based on a decision made to that effect by the Cabinet.

However, a turnaround came in 1952, when South Korea unilaterally drew the so-called Syngman Rhee Line, which contained the Takeshima islets. That country has since unlawfully occupied the islets.

In January 1895, Japan incorporated the Senkaku Islands into its territory after establishing that areas under China’s control did not include them. The event preceded the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ended the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.

In the 1970s and later, China laid claim to the Senkakus. The Chinese assertion came after it had been found that there were oil deposits in waters around the islands.

Japanese students need to be properly taught that their government’s views on the Senkakus and Takeshima have legitimate grounds reflecting these historical developments, seen from the standpoint of international law.

The South Korean government has issued a statement demanding the Japanese government to “immediately retract” the latest revisions to the instruction manuals. The Chinese government has also become more strongly antagonistic by the Japanese action.

What kind of education should a nation give its children with regard to its territory, which is part and parcel of its sovereignty? That is an internal matter of that country. No other nation should interfere over such an issue.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 29, 2014)
(2014年1月29日01時50分  読売新聞)


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