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PacNet #17A – Japan-Korea: Textbook Issue Should Not Be Ignored

Japan ignores the history textbook controversy at its peril. While many Japanese dismiss the tempest – exaggerated attention, they say, given to a small group of nostalgic conservatives or a freedom of speech issue best left to constitutional scholars – Koreans see the new history textbook as a serious obstacle to improved bilateral relations between the two countries. It is difficult to appreciate the depth and intensity of the anger felt by Koreans after the Ministry of Education approved the new textbook; even moderates warn that Japan’s failure to address Korean concerns will have long-term repercussions in Northeast Asia.