How much further can Korea-Japan relations sink?
The Japanese government has decided to define the Korea-controlled Dokdo Island and a disputed island chain in the East China Sea as its own territory in its revised manual on government guidelines for teachers and middle and high school textbooks.
Seoul's foreign ministry summoned Japanese ambassador to Korea Koro Bessho in response and lodged a protest.
"I'm here to convey our government's grave opposition to Japan's education ministry, as it today maliciously included its reckless claims in the teaching guidelines for middle schools and high schools."
The Korean government condemned the new teaching guidelines, and demanded the plan be withdrawn immediately.
If they are not, Seoul vowed to carry out appropriate measures.
"The Japanese government is continuing to make false claims over Dokdo, which is the first victim of Japanese imperialistic plunder, and trying to teach it to future generations clearly shows that it has not moved beyond the nostalgia of its past imperialism and its evil practice of distorting history."
The new manual, unveiled by the Japanese government Tuesday, includes a statement that Korea is [quote] "illegally occupying Takeshima," which is what Japan calls the islets, and that the Japanese government is protesting the action.
On the islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, Tokyo says it is effectually controlling the island chain, and that there are no territorial disputes to resolve.
"Japan will educate about Japanese territory, and will also look to have friendly relations with surrounding countries. I don't see any contradiction between these two things."
In 2008, the Japanese government included a statement in its manual that called the Dokdo Island issue between Korea and Japan as a [quote] "difference in opinion."
Even then -- when Japan didn't outright claim Dokdo as its territory in the manual -- the two nations' ties were under great strain.
But, now, with Tokyo putting their stance into stronger language, it's hard to see relations improving anytime soon.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.