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Tokyo Urged to Teach True History

China criticized education authorities in Tokyo on Thursday for their decision to allow the use of school textbooks whitewashing Japan's history of aggression and invasion.

"The nature of the problem regarding the textbooks in Japan is whether the Japanese side can correctly handle their history of invasion," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

It added: "The Japanese side should take concrete action to honor its commitment on the issue and educate Japanese young people with the correct view of history."

The textbooks, which ignore important historical facts, will be used at a high school due to open early next year.

Published by Fuso Publishing Inc, the textbooks were compiled by a right-wing group called the "Society for History Textbook Reform."

The textbooks intentionally blur the truth about Japanese aggression during World War II and fail to mention atrocities committed by the Japanese invaders.

"This Japanese right-wing group has been trying to publicize the distorted history textbooks for several years," Gao Hong, a senior researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily yesterday.

The compilation of textbooks in Japan is conducted by publishing houses.

The textbooks can be published once authorization is received from the education authorities.

Local education authorities and government-funded schools have the right to decide which textbook should be used.

"The disputed textbooks were compiled by a conspiracy of right-wing politicians and historians who want to whitewash the history of the invasion," Gao said.

"It is an extreme mistake that will surely arouse strong anger amongst peoples whom Japan committed atrocities against during World War II. Japan will gain nothing from this," Gao said.

A spate of textbooks has been published since the late 1990s which fail to mention the truth about the war.

More than 500 changes were made in an edition of a textbook published by a leading Japanese publishing house last year.

In the textbook, the actual number of people killed by Japanese troops in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre was replaced by the word "many."

The Chinese government protested strongly against these changes.

But the Japanese side refused to correct it, claiming that "no points have been discovered in apparent contrast with the historical facts and that Japanese historians hold different views towards the history."

(China Daily August 27, 2004)

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