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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 12:56 GMT
Japanese history gets rewrite
S Korean protest against Japanese history book
The book has sparked protests in S Korea
By Tokyo correspondent Charles Scanlon

The Japanese Government has reportedly forced publishers to change a controversial school text book that has provoked outrage in other Asian countries.

Protest by South Korean comfort women
Koreans were used as sex slaves by Japan's wartime military
Japan's neighbours have been keeping a close watch on Japanese text books since the early 1980s, when school history books were accused of glossing over the country's war record.

Protests flared again earlier this year, when a group of nationalist historians submitted a book for approval as a text in junior high schools.

One of the authors said Japan's attitude to its past had become masochistic and he wanted to redress the balance.

Rewritten

Japanese newspapers say the authors have now re-written 137 seven sections of the book on government advice.

One passage that said Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910 was done legally omitted the word in the revised edition and added a sentence saying that force was used.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said last week the government would take into account the views of neighbouring countries when screening the book.

Critics

A final version is expected to be approved by the end of the month, but it is unclear whether the changes will be sufficient to meet the demands of the critics.

The Koreans and Chinese in particular have long doubted the sincerity of Japan's expressions of regret over its wartime past.

Just last month a senior Japanese politician suggested that Japan had been forced into war to defend itself.

He referred to it as the Greater East Asia war, an old propaganda term once used to justify Japanese expansion in Asia.

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See also:

01 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese history angers Koreans
19 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
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12 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
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