Publishers of civics textbooks for junior high and high schools are considering modifying their descriptions of collective self-defense, given the government’s move this week to allow the country to exercise the controversial right, NHK reported Thursday.
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe authorized a reinterpretation of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution Tuesday, allowing Japan for the first time to come to the aid of an ally under attack. The Constitution was introduced in 1947 after Japan’s World War II defeat.
As Japan’s postwar defense policy comes at a crossroads, schools, teachers, textbook publishers and other parties responsible for educating younger generations are also facing a major shift in their education policy.
Among the 11 textbook publishers that currently have descriptions about collective self-defense in their social studies textbooks, eight have come to a conclusion that their descriptions need to be changed and are considering filing an application for revisions to the education ministry, NHK said, based on interviews on the publishers.
Although textbook screenings are conducted every four years, publishers can apply for quick changes if there are significant factual changes in social surroundings.
The current civics textbook by Teikoku-Shoin Co., for example, describes exercising the right to collective self-defense as “running counter to the Article 9 under the government’s interpretation of the Constitution.” Now the publisher is considering applying to a revision.
Other publishers also said they will take similar steps soon so their textbooks can be ready for use from the next academic year, which begins next April.