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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:00 05/20/2008
News Review #446: May 20, 2008

SKorea Summons Japan Envoy Over Disputed Islands

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

SKorea Summons Japan Envoy Over Disputed Islands
AFP (5/19/2008)

New Curriculum Manual to State Claim Over Takeshima Islets (5/20/2008)

Takeshima Japanese, Schools To Be Told
The Japan Times (5/20/2008)


As reported in the article linked above, Japan's education ministry has decided to include Japan's claim over Takeshima islands in a manual for revised school curriculum guidelines, effective spring 2012. This news came as a surprise to many Japanese, who understood that there was an agreement between Japanese and South Korean leaders to put on hold inclusion of such a claim in school materials. What has happened between now and then?

Before the Japanese government goes out to explain anything about this development to the public, Seoul, which has been insisting on its own claim over the disputed islands all along, has made a quick move to summon Japan's ambassador, giving him some warning and protest. Naturally, this has been reported in major newspapers at home and abroad, but there is an obvious difference between the Japanese and foreign media in dealing with this incident, as seen in their headlines, that is, "Takeshima Japanese, Schools To Be Told" in The Japan Times, and "SKorea Summons Japan Envoy Over Disputed Islands" in AFP. In other words, the Japanese media tends to treat it as a domestic issue with some reference to South Korea's response, whereas the foreign media seems to focus directly on the international aspects of this development. Although this kind of difference is inevitable in mass media reporting, the contrast between the Japanese and foreign media in this particular case is quite striking, to say the least.

The Japanese media is urged to take a more open and global approach to all news, whether it is related to Japan or not, following the international standard set by the world's leading newspapers. It is interesting to note that headlines are a good indication of how open and global the Japanese media generally are.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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