Japan, S. Korea researchers at odds over forced labor, 'comfort women'

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Japanese and South Korean historians have again failed to reach a consensus view on Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, notably its recruitment of Korean laborers and women, as well as the drafting of Koreans into the Japanese military.

The two countries' second joint history study group issued a 2,200-page report Tuesday nearly three years after discussions got under way in June 2007. A report by the first study group was released in June 2005.

The joint team, comprising 17 scholars each from Japan and South Korea, conducted discussions in four subcommittees covering ancient, history, modern and contemporary history, and history textbooks. The history textbook panel was set up for the second round of discussions.

In talks by the textbook subcommittee, a Japanese historian argued that South Korea made efforts to keep Japanese imperialist thinking out of the country after the occupation ended and that this eventually became anti-Japan education.

A South Korean scholar expressed understanding of that argument, saying the Japanese historian's view was an honest effort by the Japanese side to deepen understanding of South Korea. But the Korean scholar nevertheless rejected the argument that South Korea's curriculum was anti-Japanese.

Also in the latest report, a Japanese historian argued that Japanese emperors and prime ministers expressed a sense of remorse or offered apologies Japan's past misdeeds, but no South Korean history textbooks touch on this.

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