Japan plans to strengthen its sovereignty claim over South Korea's Dokdo islets through school curriculum.
The Japanese Education Ministry on Wednesday informed of the move through an e-government notice about the new guidelines for teachers at high schools, making it mandatory for them to teach students about Japan’s territorial disputes with South Korea and China.
Under the guidelines, high school students will be taught that Dokdo is Japan’s own territory, along with the Senkaku Islands, which China also claims.
The current guidelines, last revised in 2009, urges Japanese schools to teach about Japan’s territorial claims, but do not specify instructions on Dokdo and the Senkaku Islands.
The Japanese government's strengthened territorial education is expected to further strain relations between Seoul and Tokyo, amid ongoing conflicts over a 2015 bilateral agreement on settling Japan's wartime sex slavery issue.
In Seoul, the Foreign Ministry strongly urged Tokyo to immediately retract the high school textbook teaching guidelines. In a statement, the ministry expressed deep regret over the draft guidelines that repeat unjustified claims over the Korean territory.
It also said the new teaching guidelines will inculcate in Japanese youths a wrong territorial viewpoint and have a negative influence on the future-oriented development of bilateral relations.