New teaching guidelines for the subjects of kōkyō (public affairs) and chiri sōgō (full geography) state that four islands in the Northeast Pacific held by Russia, the Sea of Japan islands of Takeshima and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea should be described as inherent territories of Japan.
The guidelines also call on the kōkyō and chiri sōgō textbooks to state that Japan is making efforts to resolve territorial issues on the Russian-controlled islands and Takeshima peacefully, and that no territorial disputes exist over them. Senkaku Islands administered by Japan.
The Russian-held islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized by the former Soviet Union in Japan at the end of World War II and have long been claimed by Japan.
The Takeshima Islands are under the effective control of South Korea, which calls them Dokdo, and Japan claims the islands as its own territory. The Senkaku are claimed by China, where the islands are called Diaoyu.
The guidelines, which will be used from fiscal year 2022, use manuals for rekishi sōgō (full story) to mention the Northern Territories in their descriptions related to border demarcation.
During recent textbook screenings by the Ministry of Education, 19 opinions highlighting the absence of such descriptions required by the new teaching guidelines were submitted for six kōkyō books and 10 rekishi sōgō books.
Subsequently, Tokyo Horei Publishing Co. added in its kōkyō textbook text to the effect that the Senkaku are the inherent territory of Japan.
Another textbook editor, Suken Shuppan, also described in his civics manual that Japan was making efforts to resolve the Takeshima issue peacefully and that there were no territorial issues to be resolved over the Senkakus. .
Opinions seeking to clearly describe that the present-day Northern Territories were designated as a territory of Japan under the 1855 treaty between Japan and Russia were submitted for almost all rekishi sōgō textbooks.
Some textbook descriptions indicating that Russia effectively controls the Northern Territories have been changed to describe Russia as illegally occupying the islands.
The Ministry of Education said that the term “effective control” could lead to misunderstandings under international law.
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