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Okinawans make representations to government requesting retraction of textbook screening policy


   Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Chair Nakazato Toshinobu and other Okinawan representatives on October 15 made representations to Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo as well as to Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka, requesting the government to withdraw the controversial Education Ministry instruction to remove from history textbooks the account that the Japanese Imperial Army forced civilians to commit gmass suicidesh during the Battle of Okinawa in WWII.


   The Okinawan delegation was made up of 167 local assembly members of various parties and representatives of 22 organizations that took part in the organizing committee of the September 29 Okinawan rally against the government textbook screening policy.


Nakazato, who served as the rally organizing committee chair, and the other nine representatives visited the prime ministerfs office and submitted a statement to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono Matsushige.


   Ono said that the government is taking the issue very seriously and promised to convey their message to the prime minister and chief cabinet secretary, but he did not make any specific comment concerning a retraction of the Education Ministry instruction, according to the delegates attending the meeting.


   After the meeting, Nakazato said, gAlthough there has been little progress, we will not give up our demand for the screening policy to be retracted and the account to be restored.h


   The delegation in the evening participated in a rally held under the auspices of the association of Okinawans living in Tokyo and other organizations.


   Before about 650 participants, Kamieda Chiyo, who was a schoolgirl mobilized by the military as a nurse for injured soldiers during the ground battle, testified that Japanese military personnel gave hand grenades to civilian residents and that no gmass suicideh cases were reported on any islands where Japanese Army units were not stationed. gOkinawans were forced to commit suicide by the Japanese Army,h she stressed.


   Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi in his greetings referred to JCP representative Akamine Seikenfs revelation in a Lower House Budget Committee meeting that the Education Ministry arbitrarily shaped the controversial textbook screening policy.


   gThe prime minister has taken no measures to redress the textbook screening policy and said that the government cannot interfere in the textbook screening process. But the fact is that it was the government that interfered in the screening process to have the account on the emass suicidesf removed,h Ichida stressed.


   Dietmembers of the Komei, Democratic, and Social Democratic parties also attended the rally.                                                                 - Akahata, October 16, 2007


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