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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Japanese schools rebel over textbook
Former comfort women protest in a weekly anti-Japan rally in Seoul
The textbook fails to mention wartime "comfort women"
A local education board in Japan has reversed a decision to recommend the use of a controversial history textbook that has caused a diplomatic row with South Korea.

South Korea says the school textbook, to be used in Japanese classrooms from next April, whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities.

South Korean protesters burn a Japanese flag
There have been angry demonstrations in Seoul
Several private schools have already said they would use the text, written by nationalist historians for schoolchildren aged 13 to 15.

But in a rare move, the district education board in Tochigi prefecture, some 100km (62 miles) north of Tokyo has withdrawn its backing for the book.

The board did recommend the book earlier this month, but it changed its mind when all 10 municipal authorities in the district rejected the recommendation, domestic media reported.

"I am aware that such a decision was made but have no further information," said an official for Oyama city, one of the 10 municipalities involved.

Another municipality, Fujioka city, was one of the first to reject the book earlier this month.

'Comfort women'

Japan has angered South Korea and China by agreeing to just two of 35 revisions to the book demanded by Seoul. In retaliation, South Korea has dramatically scaled back cultural and military contacts and threatened to boycott educational exchanges with Japan.

Japanese man takes a look at a copy of a controversial textbook, New History Textbook
The textbook is already on sale in Japan
On Tuesday, South Korea's ambassador to Japan, Choi Sang-ryong, met senior members of Japan's ruling parties and repeated South Korea's demand for another revision to the textbook, called New History Textbook.

South Korea is particularly 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.

Japan has said the textbook, approved by the Education Ministry in April, does not represent the government's official view of history.

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See also:

17 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japanese schools reject textbook
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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