South Korea will strengthen education on the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo at local schools to counter Japan's renewed claims to Dokdo in its textbooks to be used from next year, the education ministry here said Friday.
The decision by the Ministry of Education was announced as its Japanese counterpart revealed its new high school textbooks insisting that Dokdo belongs to Japan.
Under the new policy, primary and secondary schools in South Korea will be pushed to increase the amount of class hours spent on historical and geographical facts about Dokdo and create various experience programs involving the East Sea islets, ministry officials said.
The issue of Dokdo has been one of the thorniest issues that have fueled historical enmities between the two countries. Korea has been in effective control of the islets with a small police detachment stationed there since its liberation from Japan in 1945.
Apart from the reinforced education, the ministry issued a statement denouncing Japan's government for trying to teach distorted history to its students.
"The new textbooks conceal and downsize imperial Japan's invasion and claim South Korea's territory Dokdo as its own," the ministry said.
"By teaching a distorted history and repeating its claim on Dokdo, Japan is inflicting pain on its neighboring country, being oblivious to its historical wrongdoing of severely infringing the neighbor's sovereignty and human rights through a war of aggression," it said.
The ministry said it will provide reference materials to schools nationwide to teach students that Dokdo is South Korean territory and is not disputed.
A full week in April will be designated as a period for education on the islets, it said. Schools will hold various events and contests to boost students' interest and awareness on Dokdo.
"Rationalizing a distorted view of history and infringing upon other country's territorial sovereignty are an act of sowing the seeds of conflict for the future generation and hampering the peace and prosperity of the Northeast Asian region," the ministry said.
Education Minister Lee Joon-sik said he is keeping his eyes on Japan's provocation regarding Dokdo and said he will actively response to it in cooperation with relevant government bodies, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)