TOKYO (AFP) — Japanese liberal teachers and historians voiced concern Friday over the approval of a history text written by a group of nationalistic scholars, saying it would whitewash the country's wartime past.
The education ministry Thursday approved the junior high school textbook by the avowedly nationalist Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.
The group in 2005 stoked anger from China and South Korea with an earlier version that made no mention of women sexually enslaved by imperial Japanese troops and which referred to the Nanjing massacre as an "incident."
Beijing and Seoul at the time summoned the Japanese ambassadors, while Chinese protesters ransacked Japanese diplomatic missions and restaurants.
"The new book still has the same problems the 2005 book had," said Yoshifumi Tawara, head of the group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21. "We need to strengthen our campaign against this textbook."
Copies of the new book, printed by a different company, were not immediately available -- but the critics said they were aware of the list of 516 points changed from the original on the instructions of the education ministry.
The new book was still "glamorising and justifying Japan's past wars" and "describing the histories of South Korea and China in an insulting manner," the group of teachers, historians and South Korean residents said in a statement.
In 2006, only 0.4 percent of Japanese junior high school students used the controversial textbook -- meaning 4,912 copies were used at schools -- according to the education ministry.
Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved. More »
Yoshifumi Tawara, head of the group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21