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Researchers of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa agree that the Imperial army “forced and steered” civilians to commit mass suicide during the only full-scale ground battle in Japan during World War II, an authority on modern Japanese history said Tuesday.

Hirofumi Hayashi, a professor at Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, said he conveyed the view in a statement handed to the government’s textbook-screening panel, which is considering requests by publishers to reinstate references about the military’s role in forcing civilians to commit suicide, in some cases involving children, invalids and the elderly.

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