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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
Koreas unite against Japan
North Korean, right, and South Korean women carry a large unification flag
The Koreas were marking the end of Japanese rule

Academics from North and South Korea have accused Japan of distorting historical facts, as tensions resurface over a series of long-standing territorial disputes.

Difficult past
Japan ruled Korea as a colony between 1910 and 1945
Normal relations not established until 1965
Only 15,000 Japanese live in South Korea, while more than 600,000 Koreans live in Japan
South Korea banned Japanese music and film until 1998
Scholars from the two Koreas were meeting in Seoul as part of joint celebrations marking the 57th anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule, suggesting many Koreans still harbour bitter memories of the period.

The successful co-hosting of the football World Cup by South Korea and Japan was seen by many as helping to bring those two countries closer together.

But a series of disputes are now threatening to undermine the friendlier ties.

Seoul has announced plans to turn an island off its eastern coast, also claimed by Japan, into a national park. Japan says it opposes the plan, which involves an uninhabited islet it calls Takeshima, though it is called Dokdo in Korean.

Sea battle

The island is located in waters separating Japan and the Korean peninsula, whose name is also the subject of dispute.

It is known as the East Sea by Koreans and the Sea of Japan by Japanese.

The international body which rules on maritime geographical names, the International Hydrographic Bureau, has for years urged the two countries to reach an agreement over the name.

It is now proposing to drop the title Sea of Japan from future maritime maps, leaving the area with no officially recognised name.

Japan has said it will fight the move.


Today, Japan is committing fresh wrongs by distorting historical facts, worshipping executed war criminals, seeking to dispatch its troops abroad and building up its arsenal

Korean scholars' statement
Meanwhile, a row over controversial school history textbooks approved by Tokyo is expected to resurface after a Japanese education board approved the use of one of the books in public junior high schools.

Critics say the books gloss over Japan's wartime atrocities.

North and South Koreans remain far apart on many issues but scholars from the two nations have now adopted a resolution pledging to work together to push for an apology and compensation from Japan for its harsh treatment of Koreans during its colonial rule.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Caroline Gluck
"North and South Koreans remain far apart on many issues but scholars from the two nations have now adopted a resolution"
See also:

14 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
29 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
22 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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