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Japanese textbook dispute sparks cyber attack

South Korean sex slaves
The cyber attacks come days after Japanese judge overrulled a compensation award to former South Korean comfort women  

In this story:

Gloss over the past

Compensation ruling overturned

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SEOUL, South Korea - South Korean Internet users launched a cyber attack on the Japanese Education Ministry's website Saturday in protest against the publication of a controversial history textbook, police in Seoul say.

Officials said a group of mainly university students were behind the attack, which also targeted five other Websites including that of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The attack comes ahead of this week's final review of the controversial school textbook which critics say fails to properly address Japan's past military aggression.

"The protesters plan to attack the Websites two more times today by overloading the systems," said an official at the National Police Agency's cyber investigation team.

He said authorities were not doing anything to prevent the planned attacks, and were instead taking a "wait-and-see" approach because it was not clear if they breached any laws.

The final draft of the book -- to be used next year -- is due out on April 3, and the South Korean government and civic groups have expressed concern about it glossing over Japan's past.

Gloss over the past

Japanese history textbooks, periodically updated under a system of screening by the Education Ministry, have roused fierce debate at home and in Asian countries invaded and occupied by Japanese forces in the first half of the 20th century.

Referring to World War II as the "Greater East Asia War," the draft has drawn criticism for characterizing Japan's victories over Western powers as having helped colonized nations in Asia gain independence.

Critics say the draft also omits important details of Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean peninsula, including the fact Koreans were barred from using their own language or names and had to pledge loyalty to the Japanese emperor.

Historians say Japanese rule was harsh and exploitative. China and both North and South Korea have both attacked the draft text.

South Korea's foreign minister summoned Japan's ambassador to Seoul to discuss the topic late last month, expressing the hope it would not impair relations that have improved in recent years.

Compensation ruling overturned

The cyber-attacks come just days after a Japanese high court judge overturned a 1998 district court ruling, ordering the government to pay compensation to three women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The court said the Japanese government need not pay the women compensation because forcing them into wartime sexual slavery was not a serious constitutional violation.

The three women and seven people forced into slave labor filed a lawsuit with the Yamaguchi District Court in western Japan in 1992, seeking about $3.1 million in official compensation and an official apology from the government.

One of the women has since died.

Tokyo has acknowledged that its wartime army set up brothels and forced thousands of Koreans into military service, but it has refused to pay direct, or official compensation to individuals.

Tens of thousands of Koreans were also forced into slave labor in Japan during the war.

A lawsuit was filed recently in Los Angeles against six Japanese companies by former prisoners claiming compensation for their wartime use of forced labor.

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED SITES:
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan

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