|Yang Jin-oh, president of Kyohak Publishing Co., addresses a news conference at the company Monday. (Yonhap News)|
The publisher of a controversial Korean history textbook backed off from its proposal to cancel its publication of the book in the face of resistance from the authors.
Kyohak Publishing Co. announced Monday it failed to reach an agreement with the writers and will now comply with the Ministry of Education’s order to fix any errors found.
“We had wanted to waive our right as publisher of the text, and have repeatedly sent this message to the authors,” company president Yang Jin-oh said at a news conference.
“But after a long discussion, we failed to reach an agreement.”
The publication is among eight textbooks on Korean history approved on Aug. 30 by the National Institute of Korean History, commissioned by the Ministry of Education. They will be used in high schools from next year.
The publisher had been hinting at canceling the controversial history textbook amid growing criticism of its allegedly slanted depiction of the country’s modern history. But the six-member writing panel, including the current and former presidents of the Association for Contemporary Korean History, objected and insisted the publication should go ahead as planned.
The president noted that the publisher could not give up the copyright of the textbook without the authors’ consent once it had passed the screening process.
“Now we’re going to accept and follow whatever the authorities decide to do,” Yang added.
The Education Ministry announced last week that it would reexamine all eight recently approved history textbooks and, if necessary, complete any revision and supplementation by the end of October.
Progressives have accused the Kyohak authors of expressing slanted views, distortions and errors. The authors and conservatives, meanwhile, have called for progressives to stop what they call ideologically-driven attacks.
The dispute centers on its depictions of modern history including Japan’s colonial rule (1910-1945), a succession of authoritarian governments and the people’s pro-democracy movements.
Meanwhile, authors of the seven other authorized history textbooks refused to follow the ministry’s order to revise their texts.
“We will not follow revision recommendations or orders from the Education Ministry,” they said in a statement on Sunday, adding that they would respond with an administrative lawsuit and all other legal measures if the ministry pushed for the revision of their texts.
Education Minister Seo Nam-soo announced Monday that he might exercise his authority to order modification of the texts if the authors and publishers refused to comply with revision and supplementation by the ministry.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com