The Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested yesterday over Japan’s approval of school textbooks that list the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) as part of Japan’s territory.
The unilateral move by Japan is unhelpful to the maintenance of regional stability and does not change the fact that the Republic of China (ROC) holds sovereignty over the islands, ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) said.
The ROC government will lodge a serious protest with Japan over the issue through diplomatic channels, she added.
She urged the parties involved to respond to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) East China Sea peace initiative, which calls for all parties to shelve their differences and seek cooperation on resource development in the region through dialogue.
According to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun daily, all social studies textbooks approved for use in Japanese elementary schools from April next year will mention the Senkakus — as the Diaoyutais are known in Japan — based on the results of a Japanese Ministry of Education textbook screening announced that day.
Seven of the 14 textbooks submitted for screening clearly state that the Senkakus are “inherent territories of Japan,” the newspaper said.
The Diaoyutais, about 120 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei, are claimed by Japan, Taiwan and China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
The textbooks also lay claim to the Takeshima island chain, called the Dokdo by South Korea, which is at the center of a territorial dispute between Tokyo and Seoul.