World

Seoul angered by Japan's new history textbooks

South Korea and China are angry new Japanese textbooks gloss over wartime atrocities

A high-level delegation from Japan was turned away by South Korean President Kim Dae-jung on Monday after Tokyo refused to alter historical textbooks that critics say inaccurately present wartime atrocities.

Both South Korea and China have objected to a new series of history books recently approved by the Japanese government.

Seoul has asked for 35 passages to be revised, arguing the books gloss over alleged Japanese atrocities committed while Tokyo ruled over the Korean peninsula from 1910-1945.

China has asked for eight revisions.

Japan denies the accusations of inaccuracy, and told Seoul on Monday that two passages could be altered, both concerning historical relations between the countries.

One of the books in question is published by nationalist scholars who deny historically documented atrocities committed by Japan during the Second World War.

South Korea is angry the books don't mention that thousands of Korean and other Asian women were forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers.

The row reveals a widening split between the neighbouring countries, who had been working to put aside their bitter historical differences.

Japan's Education Ministry refused to make the revisions, saying no clear-cut errors were present in the books as published.