• Kyodo

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The Ehime prefectural board of education said Friday it will adopt a Japanese history textbook that has been branded as being nationalistic and a whitewash of Japan’s wartime aggression, for use at four prefectural-run schools from the school year beginning in April.

“We chose the textbook as we hope the pupils will have pride in their motherland and feel attached to it,” Kazuhiko Iseki, head of the board, said after the board’s closed-door board, where the six members voted unanimously for the textbook edited mainly by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

The textbook, published by Fusosha Publishing Inc., will be used at three schools that offer six-year programs integrating junior high and high school and have a total of 1,440 students, and a school for disabled children.

“The textbook mentions many aspects of Japan’s unique culture and historical figures, and we believe this would lead students to be interested in history,” Iseki said as the reason of choosing the book. There was no opposition from the board members, he said.

The board also believed the way the textbook presents history as stories instead of a list of facts makes it more interesting reading and that it excels above other textbooks in contents on culture and historical characters, Iseki claimed.

China and South Korea, which both suffered under Japanese aggression and occupation, have strongly criticized the Japanese government for approving the textbook in April and have been urging local boards of education not to adopt it.

The book has also been denounced in Japan by people who believe it attempts to justify Japan’s invasions of other parts of Asia.

But Shunji Nomoto, the prefectural education chief, said: “That’s not true. The textbook explains that (Japan) is linked to China and South Korea from ancient times culturally and historically, and it writes about inappropriate behavior by the Imperial Japanese Army.”

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