Asian neighbors oppose Japan’s new textbook guidelines
The Chinese foreign ministry said Wednesday nothing can change the fact that the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands belongs to China, a day after Japan's education ministry released draft guidelines for school education, claiming the island is an "inherent" part of the Japanese territory.
"China's stance on the Diaoyu Islands issue is consistent and specific," Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said at a news briefing on Wednesday. "No matter what Japan says or does, it won't change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China."
Geng also said China urges Japan to respect the fact and stop provocations, and show sincerity on improving Sino-Japanese ties.
On Tuesday, Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced a draft guideline for elementary and junior high school education, claiming that the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea - along with the Dokdo/Takeshima islands in the Sea of Japan disputed with South Korea - as "indigenous Japanese territory."
Hu Lingyuan, a professor at the Japanese Research Center of Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times that the change in the guidance will dampen hopes of future improvements in the Sino-Japanese ties.
"Japan should realize that the amendment will not only instill incorrect perceptions about territory among the younger generations, but also have negative effect on the future bilateral relations," Hu said.
He also noted that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is using nationalism as a tool to consolidate his political position in the country.
Wang Ping, a research fellow with the Institute of Japanese Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the younger people in Japan may not fully believe in the content of the textbooks.
"Instead of believing in what is stated in the textbooks, there are more and more Japanese people who know what Japan actually did [during World War II] and what Japan is doing," Wang said.
It is the first time for the Japanese education ministry to state in legally binding guidelines that the disputed islands are "inherent" parts of Japan, the Kyodo News reported Tuesday. Previous changes only involved the expressions of historical facts, including putting "invading" a country as "entering" a country.
The Japanese education ministry will formally publish the guidelines next month after soliciting public comments and fully implement them for elementary and junior high schools from fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021 respectively, according to the report.
The report also said that Japan's education ministry does not "expect" teachers to teach the two Asian neighbors' claims "in parallel" with Japan's position on the issues.
South Korea lodged a formal protest over the amendment on Tuesday by summoning up Hideo Suzuki, a minister at the Japanese embassy in Seoul.