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Japan Adopts History Textbook That Justifies Its Invasion of Asia

Japan Adopts History Textbook That Justifies Its Invasion of Asia

Posted August. 26, 2004 21:57,   


On August 26, the Tokyo Education Board adopted a new public school history textbook filled with nationalistic bias involving distortions of historical facts and exoneration of the Japanese invasion of Asian countries and the rounding-up of women in occupied areas for use as sex slaves for its military personnel.

With the adoption of a new history textbook for public schools scheduled for next year, the number of schools adopting this new history textbook for the 2006-2009 period is expected to increase.

The newly adopted history book was created by a Japanese right-wing group called, “A Committee for Making New History,” published by Fusosha Textbook Publishing Company, and a new public high school that will open in Daito next April will teach students with the textbook, said the education board after finalizing its textbook adoption at a council meeting yesterday morning.

The newly adopted textbook describes a distorted historical perspective as the following:

1) By describing myths as historical facts, it encourages Japan to worship its emperors.

2) It refers to the Pacific War as a “great war to unify Asia” in militaristic terms.

3) It beautifies the Japanese invasion of Asian countries and interprets its cause as a war to liberate Asian people.

4) It glosses over its invasion and colonial governing history of Asian countries that it occupied.

On the other hand, a civic group, “The Children and Textbook National Network 21,” which has voiced against adopting the distorted history textbook, strongly urged the education board to scrap the decision and restart the adoption procedure again after collecting opinions from teachers, parents, citizens, and education authorities.

Responding to the Japanese textbook adoption, the Seoul government expressed regret in its press release, saying, “We feel sorry that the Tokyo Education Board adopted the Fusosha Publishing history book that justifies Japan’s wrongdoings of the past.”

The spokesperson of South Korea’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, Shin Bong-gil, added, “Adoption of the textbook can create a biased historical perspective for the Japanese younger generation, and this move could halt the efforts put into building up a good neighborly friendship based on reflections of our shared past.”

“We assert the necessity that Japan should embrace its history and beef up efforts to find wise measures to solve its biased historical view,” said the spokesperson.

Also, he added, “We highly value various Japanese civic groups’ strong efforts to make the public know about the wrongful move of the textbook adoption in a gesture to protect its morally intact conscience.”

Hun-Joo Cho Hyong-gwon Pu hanscho@donga.com bookum90@donga.com