BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Tokyo adopts contested textbook
South Korean activists hold anti-Japanese placards during a protest against the new Japanese textbooks, in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, 06 April 2005.
One of the books has reignited a row with Seoul over disputed isles
Tokyo's public school board has adopted a new edition of a Japanese history textbook that has provoked protests in China and South Korea.

The book, criticised for distorting Japan's militarist past, will be used at 26 schools in the capital.

The city's education board said the texts would be used to teach children for four years, starting next year.

The move could re-ignite a diplomatic dispute which first flared when the government approved the book in April.


This textbook is a new edition of a work that been used for the last four years in a handful of schools around the country.

It has been criticised for making just a passing mention of atrocities by Japanese troops in Asia, and leaving out the stories of the women sexually enslaved by members of the imperial army.

Textbooks approved every 4 years by education ministry
Most controversial history book said to whitewash Nanjing massacre
Earlier edition approved in 2001, but adopted by only 0.1% of schools - mostly for those with disabilities
School boards must decide which textbook to use by 31 August
Supporters of most controversial book want 10% of boards to approve it

The book's supporters said they hoped Tokyo's decision, which follows that of a school board in the central town of Otawara, would be repeated elsewhere.

But a group opposed to the text has called for the board to reverse its decision.

"We strongly and angrily protest against this outrage," said the Tokyo Network to Prevent the Adoption of the Tsukurukai Textbooks.

"The Tokyo education board will likely taste disgrace internationally as a local municipality that [...] adopted a textbook that distorts the facts of history," it said.


When the government approved the text in April, there were diplomatic protests by China and South Korea. These were followed by anti-Japanese street demonstrations.

Japan responded that the text did not represent the government's official view.

The scholars who wrote the book say Japan is too masochistic in its teaching of history. The decision by the Tokyo school board is a victory for them.

The earlier edition of their work was only used on the margins of the school system.

Almost 600 other communities across Japan will decide whether to use the controversial text over the next few weeks.

Japan textbook back in spotlight
13 Jul 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Asia press concern at China-Japan row
23 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan history texts anger E Asia
05 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
South Koreans vent fury at Japan
18 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea calls for Japan apology
01 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Japan
14 Jun 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific