Taiwan protests over Japan’s claim to Diaoyutai in revised textbook guidelines

Taiwan foreign ministry reaffirms its territorial sovereignty over Diaoyutai

(By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Japan’s education ministry announced a plan on Tuesday that lists the contested Diaoyutai (釣魚台), known as the Senkaku (尖閣列島) in Japan, as an “inherent territory” of Japan in its revised curriculum guideline designed for elementary and junior high school students. Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan lodged a formal protest against the claim and reiterated Taiwan’s sovereignty over the archipelago.

Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is no stranger to diplomatic controversy, given that it has long been lambasted by its neighbors including China and South Korea for intentionally covering up its war crimes, including massacres and the sexual slavery of "comfort women" since the 1980s, displaying a very different perception of the same events in its neighboring countries. The controversy has recently extended beyond matters of war and to the territorial disputes on Diaoyutai and Takeshima (竹島), which is called Dokdo (獨島) in Korea.

A Japanese education official said on Wednesday that both Senkaku and Takeshima are “inherent territories” of Japan and there is no question to have the country’s future generation to know the fact.

According to a study by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education, in Japan, private textbook publishers must comply with the curriculum guideline set by MEXT or risk losing the approval to sell textbooks to local school boards.

In the formal protest, the Taiwan government emphasized that such unilateral action to affect Taiwan’s sovereignty is to no avail and urged Japan to jointly maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the East China Sea.

Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump offered Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe assurances that mutual defense agreements cover the contested Diaoyutai, claimed by both Taiwan and China. Trump said the alliance between the two was a cornerstone of regional peace and stability.