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Textbook selection law enacted

Kyodo

A bill to revise the law governing how school textbooks are chosen cleared the Upper House on Wednesday, obliging boards of education to follow decisions by their municipalities’ regional councils over the selection of common textbooks for local schools.

The move comes in the wake of the refusal since 2011 of the board of education in the town of Taketomi, Okinawa Prefecture, to use a conservative civics textbook at its junior high schools despite the regional council and the central government ordering its use.

The revised law, to be enforced from April 1, 2015, and applied to the selection of textbooks for elementary and junior high schools from the 2016 academic year, obliges municipalities to form a council that selects common textbooks for use in the region.

In August 2011, the regional council consisting of Taketomi, Ishigaki and Yonaguni chose a civics textbook published by Ikuhosha Publishing Inc. But Taketomi rejected the book, saying it does not sufficiently deal with Okinawa’s burden in hosting U.S. bases, and adopted another textbook paid for by public donations.

Nago mayor to visit U.S.

KYODO

The mayor of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, said Wednesday he will visit the United States in May to state his opposition to a Japan-U.S. agreement to relocate a U.S. military base to the Henoko district of his city.

Susumu Inamine also criticized the central government for pressing ahead with the relocation plan even after he won re-election as Nago mayor in January after campaigning against the base.

“Going ahead against the willingness of residents runs counter to democracy,” he said at a press conference.

Tokyo and Washington have agreed to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko.

Inamine plans to meet with U.S. government officials, lawmakers and think tank researchers to directly convey his opposition to them during the expected May 18 to 24 visit, Nago municipal officials said.

The mayor traveled to the United States for the same purpose in February 2012.