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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 October 16 - 22  > Education ministry imposes pro-constitutional revision textbook on local schools
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2013 October 16 - 22 [EDUCATION]

Education ministry imposes pro-constitutional revision textbook on local schools

October 19, 2013
The Ministry of Education is putting pressure on Okinawa’s local town board of education to select a textbook calling for the need of constitutional revision.

Education Minister Shimomura Hakubun on October 18 ordered the Okinawa prefectural authorities to demand that the Taketomi Town Board of Education stop refusing to use the civics textbook published by Ikuhosha in the town-owned junior high schools.

The minister argued that the non-use of the Ikuhosha textbook in Taketomi Town violates the Act on Free Distribution of Textbooks for Compulsory Education Schools requiring the same district to use the same textbooks.

Regarding the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the textbook in question explains that the post-war peace in Japan owes much to the existence of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and to the U.S. military as deterrents.

Taking up two pages for a section on constitutional revision, the textbook mentions that even if friendly forces are being attacked during joint operations such as PKO activities, the SDF cannot strike back against enemy forces. It also adds that many countries in the world amend their constitutions when needed.

When the nationwide selection of school textbooks took place in 2011, the Liberal Democratic Party promoted the Ikuhosha textbook. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo himself played a role in helping to increase the number of districts choosing to use the textbook. His effort bore fruit and he sent a congratulatory message to a celebratory party for the textbook’s remarkable advance.

In 2011, the textbook selecting committee of Okinawa’s Yaeyama district consisting of Ishigaki City, Taketomi Town, and Yonaguni Town designated the Ikuhosha textbook for use at junior high schools from the following school year without appropriate discussion or any form of consensus. Ishigaki City and Yonaguni Town complied with the committee decision, but Taketomi Town chose a different textbook.

The three boards of education held discussions and decided to use the textbook chosen by Taketomi Town. However, the Ministry of Education rejected their decision and demanded that all three municipalities use the Ikuhosha textbook. Except for Taketomi Town, the other two boards of education gave in to the ministry’s pressure. As a result, Taketomi Town was excluded from the central government subsidy for textbooks. Now, the town purchases the Tokyo Shuppan textbook by donations.

Past related articles:
> Gov’t should stop intervening in textbook use [November 1, 2011]
> Education Ministry urges district in Okinawa to adopt use of rightist textbook [September 16, 2011]

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