Subject: [cwj 145] Japan Says No Plans to Stop Use of New Textbook
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Wed, 04 Apr 2001 12:09:41 -0700
Seq: 145

Wednesday April 4 
Japan Says No Plans to Stop Use of New Textbook 

By Teruaki Ueno

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it would not
bow to foreign pressure to bar schools from using a
controversial new textbook that critics say glosses over the country's
wartime aggression.

The Education Ministry endorsed the draft of the high school history
textbook Tuesday following a screening by a ministry panel,
which recommended that some 137 sections be revised due to their
controversial content.

``The screening procedures were completed, and therefore there will be no
change (to the content),'' Foreign Minister Yohei Kono told
the Lower House of parliament's foreign affairs committee.

``There is no possibility whatsoever that the Foreign Ministry will
intervene,'' he added.

China and South Korea lambasted the Japanese government's decision to
approve the textbook.

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan summoned the Japanese ambassador to
Beijing Wednesday to lodge a protest.

``The approval of the textbook hurt the feelings of many people in China
and hampers the development of normal Sino-Japanese
relations,'' a Japanese official quoted Tang as telling the Japanese diplomat.

South Korea says the textbook glosses over Japan's 35-year occupation of
the Korean peninsula -- including the fact that Koreans
were forced to use the Japanese language and pledge loyalty to its emperor.

Japan's top government spokesman said the textbooks did not reflect Tokyo's
official views.

``Historical perspectives or outlooks represented in textbooks should not
be identified as those of the Japanese government,'' Yasuo
Fukuda said in a statement Tuesday.

Stressing that the Education Ministry's screening was conducted ``fairly,''
Kono said Japan would seek understanding from China and
South Korea of its position.

Flavour Of Revisionism

The initial text had said Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean
peninsula was in line with international law. It had also labeled the
Nanjing Massacre as being ``nothing on the scale of the Holocaust.''

Following the panel's recommendation, the publishers revised the text,
making clear the annexation of Korea was carried out by force
to quash opposition by the Korean people.

It also took out the reference playing down the scale of the Nanjing
Massacre, in which China says as many as 300,000 civilians died
when Japanese troops overran the eastern city in December 1937.

But the screening panel did leave other controversial sections including
parts which describes Japanese troops as braving ``death with

The textbook will go into use from April 2002.

Seeds Of Diplomatic Rows

Japanese history textbooks, periodically updated under a system of
screening by the Education Ministry, have aroused fierce debate at
home and in Asian countries invaded by Japan in the first half of the 20th

Japan's relations with Asian countries have often been damaged by textbook
depictions of Tokyo's wartime role.

In 1982, a row was touched off in Asia when textbooks described Japan's
World War Two invasion of the region as an ''advance.''

In 1997, Japan's Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling that the
government had illegally ordered historian Saburo Ienaga to
delete an account of the activities of the Japanese Imperial Army's
infamous Unit 731, which conducted biological warfare and
experimented on live prisoners in northern China during the war.

Ienaga's challenges over three decades have forced the Education Ministry
to accept his views on atrocities such as the Nanjing
Massacre and Japanese wartime aggression.

Current textbooks give fuller accounts of Japanese actions in the war, but
have been slammed by the right for going too far.

Periodic remarks by Japanese politicians seen as glossing over Japan's
wartime atrocities stir old hatreds in China especially and keep
ties between the Asian neighbors on edge.

Earlier this year, former Japanese Defense Minister Hosei Norota sparked an
outcry across Asia with remarks absolving Japan of
blame for entering World War Two, saying it had been forced into action by
the United States. 

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