- The Washington Times - Friday, July 13, 2001

SEOUL — South Korea yesterday froze military exchanges with Japan and canceled plans to open its market to Nintendo games to protest a Japanese history textbook that Koreans say glosses over war atrocities.
The move came amid rising anti-Japanese sentiment in the nation that was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.
Schoolchildren canceled vacation trips to Japan. Protesters threw eggs at the Japanese consulate in the southern port city of Pusan. In a provincial town, farmers burned effigies of the Japanese emperor and prime minister.
"We had hoped to boost friendly relations between South Korea and Japan through the World Cup," Culture and Tourism Minister Kim Han-gill said of the 2002 soccer finals that Japan and South Korea will jointly hold.
"But without the revision of the distorted textbooks, I'm afraid we will have to readjust such expectations," Mr. Kim said.
Japan angered South Korea, North Korea, China and other Asian neighbors this week by rejecting demands that it revise eight middle-school history textbooks that critics say whitewash Japan's atrocities during World War II.
South Korea is particularly upset by the failure of the Japanese textbooks to mention tens of thousands of Korean and other Asian women who were forced to serve as sexual slaves for Japanese soldiers during the war.
Mr. Kim said South Korea canceled plans to open its market as early as year's end to an array of Japanese cultural products, such as music tapes, TV entertainment programs, adult movies, cartoons, and Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo video games.
Earlier yesterday, the Defense Ministry revoked permission for two Japanese navy drill ships to make a port call at Inchon, west of Seoul, in September.
The Japanese vessels, carrying graduating naval academy cadets, left Japan in April for a navigation exercise to 13 Asian countries.
"We believe that South Korea-Japanese military exchanges have to proceed on the basis of a correct understanding of history and mutual trust with the support of the peoples of the two countries," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also canceled a visit to Japan next week by Gen. Cho Young-gil, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
Gen. Cho's visit had been planned as part of high-level military exchanges between the two historical rivals. His Japanese counterpart visited Seoul early this year.
The Foreign Ministry said it will raise the textbook issue during a world conference against racism in late August in Durban, South Africa.
Seoul-Tokyo relations had improved significantly after South Korean President Kim Dae-jung visited Japan in 1998 and pledged to put their thorny history behind them.
South Korea later opened its market to Japanese comic books, award-winning movies and small game machines. It even held joint naval exercises with Japan annually for two years. But amid the textbook controversy, it canceled this year's exercise in June.

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