Revisionist text author to join Saitama education board

Kyodo

The Saitama Prefectural Government will nominate to its board of education one of the authors of a controversial history textbook criticized for having a nationalist bias, it was learned Monday.

Shiro Takahashi, a Meisei University professor and former deputy chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, has agreed to take up the post at the request of Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda.

The governor will make the recommendation to the prefectural assembly Dec. 20.

Takahashi would be the first senior member of the group that penned the contentious textbook to sit on a prefectural education panel, according to group members.

Ueda and Takahashi are acquaintances, and the governor asked the professor to join the panel in October, according to the scholar, who added that he replied that he was willing to accept.

Takahashi was a founding member of the textbook group and was its deputy chairman from 1999 to last month, when he quit because he “would be required to be neutral as a member of an education board,” he said.

But Takahashi added that he does not intend to leave the group.

In September, Ueda praised the group’s history textbook, calling it a “new exercise that stimulates the education community as a whole.”

The textbook, published by Fuso Publishing Co., has been criticized for lacking a reference to “comfort women,” and for portraying World War II in the Pacific theater as a war “aimed at liberating other Asian countries.”

During the war, Japan used a large number of women, mostly from Korea, as sex slaves for its soldiers.

The textbook passed the education ministry screening in April 2001, adding fuel to a fierce domestic debate on how Japan’s history should be portrayed in school texts.