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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 29 - February 4  > Abe Cabinet to teach in schools gov’t stance on Senkaku and Takeshima
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2014 January 29 - February 4 [EDUCATION]

Abe Cabinet to teach in schools gov’t stance on Senkaku and Takeshima

January 29, 2014
The Education Ministry on January 28 announced its decision to stress in classrooms the Japanese government’s claim to the Senkaku and Takeshima islands which are disputed territories whose resolution demands diplomatic dialogues in a calm manner.

The ministry’s current educational guidelines state that public schools need to “touch on differences in claims over the Takeshima Islands between Japan and South Korea and help students deepen their understanding of our nation’s claim to its territories”.

In the revised guidelines it proposes, the ministry is attempting to require schools to “properly refer to the protests Japan repeatedly lodges against South Korea regarding the Takeshima Islands and help students deepen their understanding of our nation’s claim to its territories”.

Although Japan has historical grounds to claim its sovereignty over the Takeshima Islands, the dispute needs to be solved through rational talks by taking into account that the islets were incorporated into Japan in 1905 when Japan was in the process of imposing colonial rule on Korea, and Korea’s diplomatic rights were being taken away.

The ministry for the first time proposes to include the Senkaku Islands in its educational guidelines. The revised version states, “There is no territorial dispute that needs to be resolved” over the islets since they belong irrefutably to Japan, the position maintained by successive Japanese governments.

This position has long prevented the Japanese government from proactively demonstrating its legitimate possession of the Senkakus in bilateral and multilateral talks.

To place stress on government policies in classrooms leads to subordinating education to politics, which should not take place in a democratic society. The proposed revision of the educational guidelines shows the Abe Cabinet’s intention to strengthen its control of education.
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