National

South Koreans blast 'distorted' textbook

A group of South Korean residents here urged the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s board of education Thursday not to adopt a controversial junior high school textbook — which critics say glosses over Japan’s wartime atrocities — for use in a public secondary school that will open in April.

The metropolitan education board will decide next month which textbooks will be used at the new school in Taito Ward, which will provide an integrated six-year education program at junior high and high school levels.

Cho Soo Yoong, chairman of the central head office of the Korean Youth Association in Japan, said the controversial textbook, published by Fuso Publishing Inc., should not be selected because it presents a distorted version of historical facts.

“We are concerned that the spread of the textbook could deepen a gap between Japan and other Asian countries, including South Korea,” he said.

The history textbook was compiled by members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, which is considered to have strong nationalistic views. It was authorized in 2001 by the education ministry for use in schools.

Eight public junior high schools and eight private junior high schools use the textbook, accounting for 0.097 percent of the market.

All textbooks for elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools must be screened and approved every four years by the ministry. Following this procedure, boards of education around the country decide which textbooks public schools should use from the following year.

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