S. Korean schools required to teach "'Dokdo' classes"

Featured Japan Korea - February 27th, 2013

South Korea will make “‘Dokdo’ classes” mandatory for students, a step by education officials that would instill the importance of the disputed islands – also claimed by Japan as the Takeshima islands – to the younger generation.

All schools will be required to provide a minimum of 10 hours of classes annually, explaining the South’s claims on the Dokdo Islands, or Takeshima in Japan, the education ministry said Tuesday.

“Some schools have already offered such Dokdo-related classes, but we viewed it necessary to set specific hours,” a spokesman from the ministry said.

The new classes were aimed at countering what the education ministry sees as a “growing disinformation campaign” by Tokyo, according to AFP.

A state-funded education center, known as the “Dokdo School” will be officially dedicated in the midwestern city of Cheonan, to teach the South Korea-controlled islets’ historical background.

Hundreds of South Koreans staged a protest outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul after Tokyo held an annual rally to commemorate “Takeshima Day” on Friday.

An association of South Korean small businesses has urged millions of its members to boycott Japanese goods, in the latest sign of fraying economic relations between the two neighbors over the decades-old territorial dispute.