Junior and Senior High School teaching manuals will soon be modified to include the Senkaku Islands and Takeshima islets as part of Japan. The education ministry plans on changing the information in the manuals to reflect the disputed islands as “integral parts of Japanese territory.” The ministry will inform education boards all over Japan of the move by Tuesday.
Not only will the manuals describe the islands as Japan’s territory, but they will also incorporate the government’s stand on the issue. Currently, the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are being claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu. Meanwhile, Japan is claiming the South Korean-administered Dokdo islets in the Sea of Japan, and referring to them as Takeshima. The dispute caused major uproar in 2008 when Koreans learned of the Japanese junior high school manuals mentioning Takeshima. The incident prompted South Korea to recall their ambassador in Japan as protest. The Japanese government, however, maintains that South Koreans on the islets are illegal occupants.
While revising the school manuals are usually done after 10 years, which include changes in the curriculum, the revision is being pushed this year in preparation of the screening of junior high school textbooks later this year. Present manuals only tackle the issue of the Takeshima islets briefly, noting the stands of both governments claiming it, while there is absolutely no mention of the Senkakus. Revisions will clearly indicate the islands as part of Japan and will reflect the government’s stand on territorial issues.