[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Huge Japan protest over textbook
More than 100,000 people in Japan have rallied against changes to school books detailing Japanese military involvement in mass suicides during World War II.

The protest, in Okinawa, was against moves to modify and tone down passages that say the army ordered Okinawans to kill themselves rather than surrender.

Okinawa's governor told crowds they could not ignore army involvement.

Some conservatives in Japan have in recent years questioned accounts of the country's brutal wartime past.

Saturday's rally was the biggest staged on the southern island since it was returned to Japan by the United States in 1972, according to the Kyodo News agency.


When US soldiers invaded Okinawa at the end of World War II, more than 200,000 people died.

Hundreds of them were Japanese civilians who killed themselves.

The textbooks, intended for use in high schools next year, currently say that as the Americans prepared to invade, the Japanese army handed out grenades to Okinawa residents and ordered them to kill themselves.

Many survivors insist the military told people to commit suicide, partly due to fears over what they might tell the invaders and because being taken prisoner was considered shameful.

The governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima, told crowds the episode should not be forgotten.

"We cannot bury the fact that the Japanese military was involved in the mass suicide, taking into account of the general background and testimonies that hand grenades were delivered," he said.

Okinawa anger at textbook plans
22 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan MPs play down 1937 killings
19 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese protest Japan war crimes
31 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan schools to teach patriotism
18 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
'New proof' of Japan sex slaves
11 May 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Abe explains sex slave comments
27 Apr 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan PM apology on sex slaves
26 Mar 07 |  Asia-Pacific

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

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific