South Korea has filed a complaint against Japan for approving history textbooks that officials say "distort historical facts" about sexual slavery and forced labor imposed on Koreans leading up to and during World War II.
The new history textbooks were approved on Tuesday by Japanese authorities to be studied by second and third-year high school students beginning in 2023.
Japan's distortion of historical facts and how this may impact Seoul, Tokyo ties going forward especially with a new administration coming in here in South Korea.
It's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with Jeffrey Kingston, Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan joining us live from Tokyo and Kim Mi-kyoung, Lecturer at Pukyong National University from Busan.
Thank you, both, for being with us.
I want to start with you, Professor Kingston.
Tell us about Japan's education ministry's latest approval of 189 textbooks in eight common subject categories. Why the change this time? What's the intention behind this amendment?
Professor Kim, what exactly is the issue at hand here? How were historical facts distorted and to what degree?
This obviously is not the first time Seoul and Tokyo have locked horns over Japan's textbooks. Why the repeat? Why does Japan continue to modify its school textbooks in such way knowing that it will not go down well in South Korea or other neighboring countries? I mean, how are the South Korean government's protests received by the Japanese government?
Seoul's foreign affairs ministry demanded that Tokyo take responsibility by resolving the issues and showing sincere effort "based on the spirit of responsibility, apology and remorse expressed by the Japanese government itself in the Kono Statement in 1993 and the Korea-Japan Agreement on the Issue of 'Comfort Women' Victims in 2015."
The Korea, Japan (quote) Comfort Women Victims Agreement of 2015. Let me clarify this. Is the South Korean government still standing by this agreement?
How do you think Japan's latest textbook revision coupled with the already sour relations between Seoul and Tokyo impact the bilateral ties under the new Yook Suk-yeol administration here in South Korea?
What is President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's policy direction vis-a-vis Japan?
Kim Mi-kyoung of Pukyong National University and Jeffrey Kingston of Temple University Japan, many thanks for your insights this evening. We appreciate it.