2001-07-10
Protest against Revised History Textbooks in Japan

Protest against Revised History Textbooks in Japan

A junior high school history textbook compiled by a right-wing organization was approved. The textbook not only distorts historical facts, but also justifies the aggression of the Japanese militarists as a war for the liberation of Asia. The issue has drawn strong protests from Asian countries as well as peace-loving organizations and scholars in Japan. In solidarity with these Asian people and the peace-loving Japanese, we encourage you to join the campaign against the distortion of the history of aggression.

Background

 

On 3 April 2001, the Education Ministry in Japan approved eight history textbooks for use from April 2002. Accounts of Japanese atrocities during the World War II were played down in the textbooks. The textbook, written by the Society for Writing New History Textbooks, has aroused much controversy. The Society was founded in 1997. It mainly comprises right-wing activists, teacher and professors. They want to delete passages concerning comfort women from textbooks in used. They also criticized that Japan has been too “masochistic” in assessing its past. They said that the traditional “masochistic view of Japanese history” must be ended so that Japanese children can be given “renewed pride” in their national history.

Some distorting historical facts as noted below:

1. Prettifying the history of aggression

It says that the war of aggression launched by Japan was aimed at self-defense and liberation Asia from Western imperialists. It also says that Japan’s victory at the beginning of the war brought people in the Asian countries hope and courage for independence. Regarding Japanese invasion of northeast China and annexation of the Korean Peninsula, the textbook put emphasis on Japan’s great contribution to the development of Manchuria and Korea. It fails to mention that Japanese rule was harsh and exploitative.

2. Distorting historical facts

It replaces the word “invasion” with “advance” or “rule” in describing Japanese invasion in Asian countries. Therefore, the Nanjing Massacre, during which an estimated 300,000 Chinese were killed, is referred to as Nanjing Incident. There is plenty of evidence of the massacre, but the textbook touches on it lightly. It only says many Chinese civilians were killed but there are some questionable points concerning the facts of this event and the debate still remains.

3. Deleting history

The issues of the comfort women, Unit 731 (engaged in the research of bacteriological weapons and experimented them on prisoners and civilians) and the policy of “burn all, kill all and loot all” pursued by Japanese militarists in China, cannot be found in the textbook.

4.Radical nationalism

It uses ancient myths and legends as real history and presents Japan as a nation centered on the emperor. Its basic tone is to extol the virtue of individuals sacrificing themselves for the nation and emperor. History textbooks play a decisive role in forming the young historical views of their past. A textbook glorifying the war of aggression not only seriously mislead the young in forming their view of history and value system, but can also plant radical nationalism in the hearts of the young, which is a threat to peace of the world.

Under the pressure both in Japan and in Asian countries, the publisher, Fuso Publishing Inc., announced recently it would revise nine parts of the textbook. But the nature of distorting historical facts remains unchanged and the changes are still insufficient.

 

Action now

We must all learn the painful lesson from history and let it not happen again. On account of peace and the friendship of Asian people, we must do our best to protest against the glorification of a war of aggression.

Please write letter in the name of your organisation or as an individual or send the collective signatures directly to the Japanese Government (address and fax as below) or send through our Commission (fax no. 2539-8023)

Hon. Mr. Koizumi Junichiro,

Prime Minister

1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo,

JAPAN,100-8914

Fax: +813-3581-3883

 

Hon. Ms. Toyama Atsuko,

Minister of Education, Culture and Technology

3-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku,

Tokyo 100-8959, JAPAN.

Fax: +813-3592-0409



Email : [email protected]  ( Name、Item、Telephone Number )