Descriptions of “comfort women” will be printed in junior high school textbooks in April as scheduled, Education Minister Takashi Kosugi said Jan. 21 in a meeting with a group of intellectuals who are demanding the plan be scrapped.Seven members of the Group to Make New History Textbooks demanded that Kosugi order textbook publishers to halt printing the descriptions, which were approved by the ministry and are set to be distributed next April. Kosugi said history textbooks are approved based on the 1993 government report that “comfort women” from the Korean Peninsula, who are believed to have constituted the largest group of sex slaves for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II, were recruited “generally by force.”The minister added that the sex slave issue “can be understood by junior high school students.” The group of intellectuals, which includes Tokyo University Professor Nobukatsu Fujioka and popular cartoonist Yoshinori Kobayashi, has claimed the entries are inappropriate because the phrase “military comfort women” did not exist at that time.The group maintains that there is no objective evidence that proves military involvement in the abduction of these women, and that putting the descriptions in textbooks will have a harmful influence on children. Kosugi, however, said, “The phrase ‘military comfort women’ is widely used in government papers, as well as society in general. It is a subject that can be understood by junior high schoolers as a postwar compensation issue.” The ministry officials said the meeting was arranged through former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
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