Yokohama adopts disputed history textbook for junior high schools

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Yokohama adopts disputed history textbook for junior high schools

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Tuesday 04th August, 03:44 PM JST

YOKOHAMA —

Yokohama ’s municipal board of education adopted a disputed history textbook Tuesday for use at public junior high schools in Japan ’s second-most populous city for two school years starting next April, city officials said. The municipal board of education decided to use the textbook at schools in eight of the city’s 18 wards, the officials said.

The textbook in question was mainly authored by a group of nationalistic scholars—the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, popularly known as Tsukurukai. It is published by the Tokyo-based Jiyusha publishing house. The textbook has drawn international criticism chiefly from China and South Korea for allegedly playing down Japan ’s militarist past and glorifying its participation in World War II.

Jiyusha said Yokohama , a city with a population of 3.67 million, was the first to adopt its history textbook that cleared the education ministry’s fiscal 2008 textbook screening.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board’s six members deliberated on history textbooks published by seven publishing houses, including Jiyusha.

The panel members failed to reach a consensus on the selection of Jiyusha’s history textbook. Some said they appreciated that it is easy for students to grasp the flow of history while others criticized it as glorifying Japan ’s participation in a series of wars.

The board of education voted anonymously on which textbooks will be used at schools in each of the city’s 18 wards and decided by a majority of votes, the officials said.

In the balloting, the board decided to adopt Jiyusha’s textbook for eight wards. For the remaining 10 wards, the panel decided to adopt textbooks published by two other publishing houses—Teikoku-Shoin Co and Tokyo Shoseki Co.

Jiyusha’s textbook calls World War II in the Pacific theater the Greater East Asia War.

‘‘ Japan declared war on the United States and Britain . Japan also declared that the war is intended for Japan ’s self-existence and self-defense,’’ it says in Japanese.

Tsukurukai is formed by nationalistic scholars who call conventional history textbooks ‘‘masochistic.’’

The group’s textbook had been published by Fusosha Publishing Inc, an affiliate of major media conglomerate Fujisankei Communications Group. But the group later changed the textbook’s publisher to Jiyusha after differing over editorial policies.

Last year, Tsukurukai filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking a court order to ban Fusosha from publishing the group’s textbooks.