From WEEKLY MDS No.897, July 29, 2005 issue logo

Dump Distorted Textbooks in Unison with Non-Defended Localities Movement

Protests rush to the Otawara City Board of Education

From mid-July to August, about 580 school districts around the country have been in the process of history and civics textbook adoption for school year 2006,among other textbooks.

Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (Tsukurukai) publicly announced their will to revenge the less than 0.1% adoption of their textbooks in the previous opportunity in 2001, and has been driving petition campaigns targeting local assemblies, looking to win a 10% adoption this time. This group has been aggressively working to have prefectural and municipal assemblies adopt their petition for textbook corruption. As a result, fifteen prefectural assemblies including Kagawa, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectural assemblies, and the Niigata city assembly as well as the ward assembly of Itabashi, Tokyo, have adopted their petition. This way, they have been mounting pressure on respective boards of education.

The pressure from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is also increasing. Society of National Assemblymen for Proper History Education, in tandem with Tsukurukai, has been interfering with the municipalities' right of textbook adoption. For example, the ex-chairman NAKAYAMA Nariaki became the Minister of Education and is dominating the Ministry with the Society's Secretary-General SHIMOMURA Hirobumi, who has also entered the Ministry as a ministerial aid, with instructions being issued through prefectural boards of education.

On July 13, in the midst of the above attacks, the board of education of the city of Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture, adopted textbooks from Tsukurukai for the first time as a municipal education board. From overseas and around the country, protests against their backroom sessions and the way they went ahead with adoption are rushing to the board as well as demands for cancellation of the adoption.

Mobilizing children into war

There is a reason for them to be frantic for corruption of history and civics textbooks. It is because education is the area that is not up to their desire yet; they need education that can support troop dispatches anytime anywhere and facilitate mobilization of children into war.

Global capitalists are particularly anxious to have Tsukurukai textbooks adopted since the textbooks justify Japan's war of aggression in the past and glorify dedication to the state.

In fact, in June 2004, then LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) Secretary-General ABE Shinzo issued instructions to promote adoption of Tsukurukai textbooks by local entities, saying, "The issue of history textbooks is a crucial topic on our agenda that is inseparable from the issues of amendment of the Basic Education Law and the Constitution. Concerted effort of the state and local governments is required." At the LDP's January 2005 party conference, the issue of "amendment of the Basic Education Law and correction of biased history textbooks" was handled as one of priority issues.

Four years ago, the adoption rate for the Tsukurukai textbooks was less than 0.1%. However, the effort to distort history by Tsukurukai, the LDP and the Ministry of Education has been influential enough to invite compromises in other textbooks on the description of Japan's liability for offenses during the Asia-Pacific war, the issue of wartime sexual slavery, forcible transfer and mass "suicides." The Koizumi cabinet not only adheres to the prime minister's planned visit to the Yasukuni Shrine but also encouraged the Shimane prefectural assembly to enact "Takeshima Day" ordinance in March and, in February, nationalized the lighthouse constructed on Uotsuri Island, or Diaoyutai Island in Chinese, by a right-wing organization, in an effort to inflame xenophobia. The goal of the Japanese government is to build a system at a dash by combining all these moves together that will enable them to project aggression in the past positively and to develop military manpower motivated for war.

Promote peace-oriented community buildup

The anger among Asian peoples largely exceeds that experienced in 2001 in the previous quadrennial occasion for textbook adoption. Actions in solidarity with the Korean people are spreading around, including joint submission of a request to the Ehime Prefectural authority by a citizens' organization of a Korean sister city and the National League for Support of the School Textbook Screening Suit. In pursuit of fair adoption of textbooks for junior high schools, petition activities are developed nationwide targeting boards of education and some groups are considering bringing up a legal action as well.

Send postcards and facsimile/e-mail messages that request municipal boards of education not to adopt history or civics textbooks from Tsukurukai. In order to ensure a fair adoption procedure, achieve open sessions of boards of education with observers in attendance. Mobilize citizens and parents to besiege them.

The Non-Defended Locality movement, a movement for peace-oriented community building, and the movement for denial of Tsukurukai textbooks aimed at mobilization of children into war make up a single struggle. (July 16)

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