Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Officials wait to act in Japanese textbook row

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials yesterday said more information needed to be collected before it would demand that Japan correct textbooks that refer to Taiwan as part of China.

On Dec. 23, an article penned by Taiwanese Representative to Japan John Feng (馮寄台) was published in the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, in which Feng said Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and that the majority of Taiwanese people hope both sides of the Taiwan Strait could set aside disputes and maintain the status-quo.

His article came in the wake of reports that some new junior-high school textbooks in Japan label Taiwan as part of the PRC, with Taiwan being colored the same color as China on maps and data related to Taiwan included with that for China.

In the article, Feng said it is widely known that Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China (ROC) by Japan after World War II — when China was under then-ROC president Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) command.

Chiang’s government retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Zedong (毛澤東), thus establishing the PRC in China, Feng said. He added that he wished the publishers would recognize the history and rectify incorrect information so as not to mislead young Japanese.

On Wednesday at the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) promised lawmakers that the ministry would lodge a strong protest with Japan over the matter and resort to all means necessary to demand a correction.

However, Yang’s words have so far not been followed by any concrete actions.

The ministry’s East Asian Relations Commission Chairman Peng Ren-tzu (彭榮次) insisted that the mistakes in the textbooks needed to be pointed out and corrected, while acknowledging that the ministry has not taken follow-up action.

“Although the textbooks were published by a private company, they should not contain misleading information,” Peng said.

East Asian Relations Commission Secretary-General Huang Ming-lung (黃明朗) said the ministry needs to collect more information before filing a protest with the Japanese government.

The ministry’s representative office in Japan is looking into whether the incorrect information is contained in other textbooks before raising the issue with Japanese officials, Huang added.

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