Thu April 7, 2005 SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) - South Korea summoned Japan's ambassador on Wednesday to protest over official approval of textbooks critics say whitewashes Japanese history, while Chinese stores began boycotting Japanese goods over the issue. ,,,,,,,, BOYCOTT BEGINS IN SHANGHAI
In China, which suffered millions of casualties during Japan's military invasion in the first half of the 20th century, some stores stopped selling selected Japanese goods to protest against Tokyo's approval on Tuesday of a history textbook written by Japanese nationalist scholars.
Many Chinese fume at what they see as Japan's failure to own up to atrocities committed during its occupation of China from 1931 to 1945. Beijing estimated that up to 35 million Chinese were killed or wounded by invading Japanese troops.
The China Chain Store & Franchise Association, the largest retail group in the country, urged members to take products made by Asahi Breweries Ltd.and MSG maker Ajinomoto Co. Inc. off the shelves, the association said in a statement.
It was not clear how many Chinese stores had stopped selling Japanese products, but one association official told Reuters that the boycott campaign had begun in Shanghai, the country's financial hub, and the northeast city of Shenyang.
The Chinese foreign ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador on Tuesday to lodge an objection to Japan's approval of the textbook, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The Japanese ambassador, Koreshige Anami, blamed Chinese "patriotic" education practices for whipping up emotions.
An original version of the history book, written by nationalist scholars for junior high schools, was first approved in 2001 despite strong protests from China and South Korea. Few school boards adopted the book and it's not clear how many will do so this time either.