• Kyodo

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A senior Taiwan official said Monday that the ongoing controversy over Japanese history textbooks is unproductive and recommended that Japan include textbooks from other countries in high school classes to provide students with different views.

“In the current environment, it is futile to seek to forge a consensus on Japan’s wartime conduct given that most Asian nations use history education for building nationalist sentiment,” said Wu Mi-cha, vice chairman of the Taiwanese Cabinet’s Council for Cultural Affairs.

Wu, who was a history professor at National Taiwan University before joining the Cabinet in March, said Japan should be mindful that its view of history is disputed by its neighbors and use South Korean and Chinese history textbooks as additional teaching material for high school students.

“I say let the students themselves make up their minds,” Wu told Kyodo News.

Wu said he believes Japan can eventually find a common denominator with its neighbors once each side accepts that the other comes from a different starting point, rather than trying to impose views.

“There should be exchanges on the differences in historical debate, otherwise nothing will come of it,” he said.

Wu said Japan’s neighbors could reciprocate and discuss Japanese textbooks as part of high school history lessons.

South Korea, China and other victims of Japanese wartime aggression have frequently attacked Japanese history textbooks, saying they whitewash Japanese atrocities.

The issue exploded in April when the Japanese government approved a new junior high school history textbook written by nationalist authors. South Korea temporarily recalled its ambassador over the issue.

The education boards of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Ehime Prefectural Government earlier this month approved the book, written by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, for use in some special schools.

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