A Japanese history textbook that takes a critical look at the national anthem and flag controversy has been dropped for use at public high schools in Kanagawa Prefecture starting next school year at the prefectural board of education's request.

The unusual intervention by the board drew flak from teachers and publishers. Prefectural high schools texts are typically selected by the schools themselves, subject to board approval.

The board took issue with two textbooks by Jikkyo Shuppan Co. In explaining the flag and anthem law, the books say: "The government made it clear through Diet deliberations that the public is not mandated to raise the national flag and sing the national anthem. However, there are moves to force this on public employees in some local governments."