The government will not seek further revisions or urge local education authorities to boycott the use of certain school textbooks, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said Wednesday, urging South Korea and China to “settle down” and discuss their differences.
The texts to which he referred include a contentious junior high school history book the Education Ministry approved after more than 100 amendments were made.
“(The government) has finished screening all textbooks (to be used at schools from the 2002 school year) and the evaluations will not change,” Kono told the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The Foreign Ministry will never interfere in (specific cases) because boards of education authorize the use of textbooks in public schools and principals have that right in private schools,” he said.
Kono claimed an Education Ministry panel screened the history text impartially, dismissing criticism from China and South Korea that the book still contains justifications of Japan’s aggression against China and Korea before and during World War II.
But he said: “It is important (that the two countries) settle down and talk (with Japan). Japan will explain about the textbook case as much as possible in an effort to maintain favorable relations.” On Tuesday, the panel approved a new draft of the textbook, compiled by a group with nationalistic views, that critics say seeks to gloss over and justify Japan’s military aggression in Asia.
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