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Japan May Adopt Distorted History Textbooks

Posted December. 21, 2004 23:05,   


In Japan, many of the middle school textbooks that distort history might be adopted for the 2006 to 2009 period.

The assembly of Saitama Prefecture in Japan approved Meisei University Professor Takahashi Shiro, who was a former vice president of the right-wing nationalist group “Society for Creating New History Textbooks,” as a member of the Saitama Board of Education.

This group was harshly criticized by people of conscience in Japan and people in neighboring nations including Korea and China for publishing a textbook that glamorizes Japan’s aggressive wars. The textbook was authorized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2001.

School teachers and civic groups in Saitama resist the appointment of the former leader of the nationalist group as an education board member, citing that it is to prepare for the adoption of distorted history textbook next year.

Currently, a prefectural board of education has a right to choose textbooks for public junior high schools.

Considering the right wing prevalence in the Japanese society and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, many people think that distorted textbooks are likely to be adopted next year.

Nariaki Nakayama of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology even said, “It is fortunate that history textbooks do not deal much with some subjects such as sex slaves,” apparently supporting the adoption of the distorted textbooks.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com