Parents and teachers try to keep rightist textbooks out of reach of children

While the "Society for History Textbook Reform" with support from the Liberal Democratic Party is trying to attain a more than 10-percent share of history and civics textbooks used in schools, parents and teachers are working hard to block these textbooks justifying Japan's past war of aggression from being adopted in schools. Akahata on June 12 reported as follows:

The society argues that boards of education are authorized to choose textbooks and seeks to forestall pressure by parents, teachers, and history-conscious people calling on boards of education not to adopt these textbooks, denouncing the call as unfair outside pressure.

The society touts its textbooks as the best textbooks for educating children to have affection for the country's history and self-awareness as Japanese, putting pressures on municipalities and local boards of education to choose their textbooks.

In Kumamoto Prefecture, an LDP member of the prefectural assembly is checking around the prefecture to make sure that local boards of education are exercising their authority to adopt the association's textbooks.

Parents and teachers, however, began standing against this move in order to prevent children from being taught with these textbooks.

They are holding meetings to study various interpretations of historical events and familiarize themselves with the situation regarding these controversial textbooks, carry out campaigns to collect signatures calling for the rejection of such textbooks, reveal the right-wing interpretations in the books to the public, publish opinion ads against adoption of the books, and make representations to local boards of education and municipal assemblies.

They also plan to go to the textbook exhibition and submit their opinions to the Board of Education about textbooks they examine at the exhibit.

In Sapporo City, Hokkaido, their movement forced an official of the City Board of Education to cancel his participation in a symposium held to promote the textbooks by the "Society for History Textbook Reform." In Kumamoto Prefecture, a parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Education gave up his attendance as a panelist in a symposium on the promotion of the textbooks held by the prefectural federation of LDP branches after the Japanese Communist Party and other democratic organizations requested that a municipality and a local board of education where the symposium was held should not allow public servants to attend meetings of this kind. - Akahata, June 12, 2005

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