• Kyodo

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Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, said Friday in Seoul that the DPJ will urge local boards of education across the country to boycott a recently approved history textbook written by nationalist historians.

During a news conference at a Seoul hotel, the leader of Japan’s largest opposition party criticized the nationalist content of the book, which he said “idealizes self-centered history.”

He said the text still contains nationalist sentiments, even after being reviewed and amended.

“It’s undesirable for children to learn Japanese and world history based on (nationalism),” he said.

Hatoyama voiced his intent to convey the DPJ’s message to the public that Japan should confront historical facts and review areas that should be reviewed.

In Japan, private organizations draft school textbooks and the Education Ministry screens them before they are approved. Local education boards then decide which textbooks they will use.

In early April, the ministry approved one history textbook that critics say tries to justify Japanese military aggression in Asia before and during World War II, along with seven others. All eight textbooks are scheduled to be used from April 2002.

Asian nations, including South Korea and China, have severely criticized the junior high school book, which was compiled by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. , a group of nationalist academics and their supporters.

Asked about Japan’s deportation to China on Friday of a man who claims to be the son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Hatoyama said the incident will probably not have a significant effect on relations between Japan and North Korea.

Hatoyama was on a four-day visit to South Korea that ended Friday.

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