A Tokyo-based textbook publisher has obtained government approval to delete depictions of "comfort women" and references to foreign workers forcibly brought to Japan, from its high school social studies books, sources said Friday.

The education ministry approved publisher Suken Shuppan's November request to delete such references from three textbooks.

Suken Shuppan refused to comment on why it chose to cut the references. The textbooks were to be distributed for use this April.

Its previous political science and economics textbook said discussions have been held on issuing compensation for "forcibly moving" foreigners to work in Japan and for "military comfort women" during the war.

The new version contains no specific mention of forced laborers or the thousands of comfort women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in Japan's military brothels before and during World War II.

Instead, the revised version simply states that some South Korean "individuals victimized by Japan during the war" have filed lawsuits in Japanese courts seeking an apology and damages.

In January 2014, the education ministry revised its textbook-screening standards for social studies and asked publishers to state the government's official views or the Supreme Court's decisions on contentious issues.