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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Japanese schools reject textbook
South Korean students protest against Japan
There are regular peaceful protests in South Korea
A group of at least 30 Japanese schools have decided not to use a controversial textbook that South Korea says whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities.

In a rare move, a local board of education in Tochigi prefecture, about 100km (62 miles) north of Tokyo, rejected a recommendation by a district educational panel to use the history book.


We should not ignore the fact that the textbook has sparked a furious diplomatic dispute

Local official, Japan
The decision came as South Korea said it would ask Japan to remove the names of Korean war dead from a controversial shrine in Tokyo.

Last week South Korea scaled back military and cultural ties with Japan, in protest at Japan's refusal to make major changes to the textbook.

Japan said it would make just two of 35 revisions South Korea had demanded.

War criminals

In its latest protest, South Korea will ask Japan to remove tens of thousands of memorial tablets for Koreans from Japan's Yasukuni Shrine, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Tuesday

South Koreans protesters burn a Japanese flag
South Koreans say Japanese books gloss over the war
The shrine is a particularly controversial one because it includes the names of 14 convicted Japanese war criminals. Japanese Prime Minister has stirred further controversy by repeatedly saying he plans to make an official visit to the shrine next month.

"It is a nonsense for the memorial tablets of Korean labourers to be kept in the Yasukuni Shrine where memorial tablets of A-grade Japanese war criminals are buried," said the South Korean official.

The tablets belonged to families of Koreans forced into labour in Japan during World War II, he said.

'Narrow-minded'

The decision by the education board of Fujioka city not to use the controversial textbook in at least 30 public junior high schools in the district is unusual. Several private schools have already said they would use the textbook from the 2002 school year starting in April.

A former
The textbooks fail to mention about 100,000 "comfort women"
Board members said Monday's decision was based in part on anxieties over angry reactions from South Korea and China to the textbook, which along with seven other contentions books, was approved by the government in April.

"We came to a conclusion that we should not ignore the fact that the textbook has sparked a furious diplomatic dispute," said one official.

South Korea is angry at the failure of the book to mention more than 100,000 so-called "comfort women", forced to have sex with Japanese troops during the war.

It also objects to Japan's claim that its 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula was necessary for stability.

One of the book's authors, Akinori Takamori, has insisted the book does not need to be changed.

"South Koreans are obsessed with selfish, narrow-minded nationalism," Mr Takamori said in a television interview on Monday. "I was hoping to see more respect for diverse interpretations of history."

See also:

10 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Anger deepens in history book row
11 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Koizumi to honour war dead
14 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan's controversial war shrine
04 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan stands firm on history book
03 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan textbook angers neighbours
31 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Attack on Japan ministry website
26 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Court rejects Korean wartime claim
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