History, the orphan child of Japanese education, will acquire new status next year. “Modern global history” is to be made a compulsory subject in senior high schools.

Shukan Toyo Keizai magazine devotes the better part of its Nov. 20 issue to the implications. The measure “removes the barrier between Japanese history and world history,” says education ministry official Atsushi Fujino.

Postwar Japan has been future-oriented to a degree that fails to do justice to its recent past, neighboring countries who bore the brunt of Japan’s wartime militarism have charged over the years. History as a school subject has languished accordingly — taught mechanically, learned by rote, forgotten after the exam. That may change.