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Anger Spreads over Japan's 'Twisted' Books

Drafts of a new edition of a history textbook used in Japanese schools have again sparked waves of criticism.


Japan's Asian neighbors including China and the Republic of Korea say they have been "deeply hurt" by the "twisted history" in the school books which "again" fail to mention the atrocities the Japanese committed during World War II.


The People's Daily, one of the largest circulated newspapers in China, published an article on Friday, saying the books "greatly hurt the feeling of the Asian people" and expressed outrage in an editorial.


The paper cited ROK's decision to internationalize the Japanese history textbook issue as "a very necessary measure," saying "it is a powerful counter blow to Japanese right wing's aggressive action."


The paper said the current situation indicated that it is hard to resolve the textbook issue within the bilateral jurisdiction and it would be a smart choice to go to the international level.


It noted that 2005 is the 60th anniversary of World War II "an anti-fascist war" and said it would be "very significant to let the international community learn more about the truth of Japanese invasion history."


Overseas Chinese are also planning to buy an entire page advertisement in New York Times, opposing Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, reported another popular Chinese newspaper, China Youth Daily.


Hundreds of thousands of people have been arguing in recent days against Japan's bid on the Internet, demanding Japan heed its past atrocities first.


The ROK Government said it will raise a proposal about the textbooks at international conferences, including the conference of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It has said it will take other measures to force Japan to correct the wrongs.


The textbooks are inspected every four years in April by the Japanese Government. They are used during history lessons at all middle schools in Japan.


The latest edition of the disputed textbook, which was written by a group of "right-wing" Japanese academics, was approved in 2001 for use in high schools - despite strong protests from neighboring countries.


ROK non-governmental organizations vowed to work together with its counterparts in Japan as well as the international community to prevent the approval of the new textbook.


There are media reports from the ROK detailing the controversy. US representative Lane Evans said on Thursday that he and 13 other representatives are working hard to push forward the resolution calling on Japan to apologize for the sexual enslavement of young women in Asia who were used as "comfort women" by Japanese troops during World War II.


In the press briefing held in congress the same day, which was also witnessed by some former "comfort women," Evans said Japan is one of the leading countries that has not shown any sincerity in taking the responsibility for its historical actions.


He said it was quite shocking to see the Japanese Government has not fully apologized and compensated the "comfort women" 60 years after World War II.


(China Daily March 26, 2005)

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