Apologists for Japan's wartime atrocities failed yesterday in
their bid to get the nation's schools to adopt a textbook that
seeks to whitewash its aggressive past.
The Japanese newspaper Mainishi Shimbun reported that a
mere 48 out of 11,035 schools across the nation had opted to use
the controversial publication by yesterday, the deadline for
schools to decide on textbooks for the next academic year
Accounting for 0.4 percent of the nation's schools, this falls
far short of the 10 percent target set by the textbook's backer,
the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.
China and South Korea, along with many Japanese people, have
strongly protested that the textbook glossed over Japan's
militarist past and its army's atrocities.
Regarding the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, the book says, "The
Japanese forces caused a large number of Chinese military and
civilian personnel to die." But it challenged the validity of the
number of casualties in the massacre.
The Nanjing Massacre was one of the bloodiest crimes committed
by Japanese troops, in which 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed
soldiers were slaughtered.
Officials at the book's publisher, Fusosha, were unavailable to
comment, but the head of a civic group opposed to the book said the
newspaper report corresponded with its own findings.
Late last month, Tokyo's education board adopted the textbook
for use at four state-run schools and 22 schools for the blind,
deaf, and physically and mentally handicapped.
In mid-July, the city of Otawara in Tochigi Prefecture, 150
kilometers north of Tokyo, became the first municipal government to
adopt the book. It also decided to use a civics textbook, sponsored
by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, which has
upset South Korea as it reiterates Tokyo's claim to two tiny
islands disputed by Seoul.
Yoshifumi Tawara, secretary-general of Children and Textbook
Japan Network 21, said the fact that so few districts are likely to
have adopted the textbook was a triumph for lobbying by civic
"Given that there was a lot of activity on the part of
politicians, especially in the (ruling) Liberal Democratic Party,
we can take this as a real victory," he said.
The textbook distorts the history, glorifies Japan's aggressive
wars in Asia, and justifies its colonial ruling, said the children
The group also pointed out that the textbook had not only been
strongly protested in Japan, but also criticized by other Asian
countries. Therefore, what the education board has done is an
atrocious action bearing vicious political intention, rather than
for the purpose of education.
(China Daily September 1, 2005)