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ARTICLE: Korea-Japan Relations Worsen

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Taken from Digital Chosun.com, July 7/8 2001:

Korea-Japan Relations Worsen

The government held a meeting Saturday led by the deputy education minister to discuss the measures to deal the matter of Japan's Education Ministry approving the publication of a Japanese right-wing history textbook for Japanese middle-school students. President Kim Dae-jung's government had demanded the Japanese ministry to look into and amend 35 points in the textbook that were considered as not being objective descriptions of the Japanese Imperial period.

After studying an unofficial notice of the Japanese ministry's decision on the textbook, the government concluded it was clearly not up to a satisfactory level and, therefore, will take gradual measures once Japan's official notice is made Monday. In the unofficial notification to the government, the Japanese government is said to have admitted only one error in the books regarding Korean history.

As a first step, the government decided to refuse the request of three Japanese coalition parties' secretaries, including Liberal Democratic Party Chief Secretary Daku Yamasaki, to call on President Kim Dae-jung Sunday.

Meanwhile, Korea and Japan are also in disagreement over fishing in the seas near the South Kurile Islands. The two countries' working-level officials met in Seoul Saturday but failed to narrow their differences. The government is maintaining that fishing in that area has nothing to do with dominion dispute and unless Japan suggests an alternative fishing grounds, the Korean fishers will start fishing in the area from July 15. Japan also seems to be preparing countermeasures, therefore, the situation is highly likely to worsen.

A government official said Sunday the area is, in effect the waters of Russia and that it is regarded as impossible for Japanese patrol ships to take physical action, such as seizing Korean fishing boats. However, if Japan does take such forceful measures, Korea can also respond against Japanese fishing boats fishing in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

(Park Jeong-hun, jh-park@chosun.com)


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