(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 3-6)
SEOUL/TOKYO, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea denounced Japan's revision Tuesday of education material to intensify its territorial claim over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea.
Earlier in the day, the Japanese government announced an amendment to the teacher's guide for use at high schools in the direction of further clarifying its position that Dokdo belongs to Japan.
It referred to Dokdo, along with the Kuril Islands, as Japan's sovereign territory and claimed that South Korea is illegally occupying the islets.
In the previous version, revised in 2009, there was no direct mention of Dokdo or the Kuril Islands.
Publishers of Japanese high school textbooks were required to describe Dokdo as the country's territory starting in 2022 under a set of binding guidelines issued in March by the education ministry.
But the ministry also decided to implement the measure next year.
South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed regret over the move and urged Japan to retract it.
In a statement, it pointed out Japan is making an "absurd" assertion based on a "wrong history perception" over Dokdo, which is arguably part of South Korea's territory.
By teaching its future generations this material, Japan is giving up a chance to express regret for its past misdeeds and move toward a new future, the ministry's spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said.
He stressed that South Korea has sovereignty over its easternmost islets, which has been proven by historical and geographical facts, as well as international law.
The ministry called in Kohei Maruyama, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to deliver a formal protest message.
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