This photo shows a Japanese high school textbook approved by the government on March 29, which lays territorial claim to South Korea‘s easternmost Dokdo islets. (Yonhap)
North Korea’s state propaganda outlet slammed President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday for keeping mum on Japan’s approval of school textbooks distorting history of its forceful acts against Korean people during the Japanese colonial period.
Citing the Japanese government approving the use of high school history textbooks that distort the facts on wartime forced labor and sexual slavery of Korean people, the North said Yoon is siding with Japan in an article published on Uriminzokkiri.
“What Japan did is so outrageous that people with Korean blood, or anyone who knows even a little about the horrendous past sins of Japan would be enraged,” the article said.
“Only Yoon Suk-yeol’s office is completely ignoring (Japan’s history distortion), saying he cannot make a stance on the individual cases of foreign affairs because he is still in the position of a president-elect.”
The article went on to say how it cannot but ask whether “Yoon’s body is filled with the black ink of those islanders.”
Last month, a textbook screening committee under Japan’s Education Ministry approved of some 240 textbooks that had removed and changed terms referring to the coercive nature of its wartime forced labor and sexual slavery.
The textbooks had changed the term “forced mobilization” for “mobilization” or “conscription,” and removed the term “wartime comfort women,” in describing Koreans who were forced into hard labor and sexual slavery during the colonial period of 1910 to 1945.
North Korea also pointed to these examples and questioned Yoon’s vague stance on them.
“What is inappropriate about revealing of Japan’s unpardonable atrocities forcefully mobilizing some 8.4 million Korean people into the battlegrounds, and forcing sexual slavery to some 200,000 Korean women?” the article said.
“Is it inappropriate to say Dokdo islets are our land?”
It also said Yoon’s ignorance is the same as quietly applauding Japan publishing the textbooks, constituting a “betrayal.”
The outlet criticized Yoon’s past remarks when he was running as a presidential candidate, such as that there has not been any radioactive effluent from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster and that Japan’s Self-Defense Force could enter the Korean Peninsula in the case of war, among others.
Following the Japanese ministry’s approval of the history textbooks, Yoon’s then-spokesperson Rep. Kim Eun-hye said it was “inappropriate” to express a stance on individual foreign affairs.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org