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S. Korea summons Japanese envoy to protest historical distortion in textbooks

March 22, 2024 - 17:31 By Park Jun-hee
Japan's ambassador to South Korea, Koichi Aiboshi, is summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Friday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi to formally protest Japan's approval of history textbooks asserting sovereignty over the Dokdo islets and watering down the coercive nature of its wartime forced labor and sexual slavery.

The Foreign Ministry in Seoul also expressed “deep regret” over the Japanese government’s approval of textbooks for middle schools that distort historical facts in a statement issued under the name of the ministry's spokesperson.

The ministry called on Japan to provide history education based on the “spirit of apology.”

The remarks come after Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology approved the use of 18 school textbooks in the social studies category, which includes history, geography and civics, starting from 2025 for middle schools.

Seoul’s Education Ministry also urged Japan to immediately redress the issue.

“To untie the knot between South Korea and Japan and move toward a more constructive relationship, it’s pivotal to start by correcting (Japan’s) continued assertions of sovereignty over Dokdo and historical distortions,” it said in a statement.

The ministry also lambasted the Japanese government for further watering down the coercive nature in describing sexual slavery claims and forced labor as well as its territorial claims to the Dokdo islets, compared to those approved in 2020.