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This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy. Last year I learned from a speech by Dr. Shoichi Watanabe, professor emeritus at Sophia University, what American Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who oversaw the allied occupation of Japan after World War II, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee in 1951 that “Japan’s “purpose … in going to war was largely dictated by security.”

This year, in another speech, Watanabe revealed that he had served as editor at large in the preparation of a Japanese history textbook for junior high school students, and that during the mandatory screening process, the education ministry demanded that the above statement by MacArthur be deleted from the draft of the text before it was published. I was so surprised and even wondered whether the ministry’s inspectors were really Japanese.

As supreme commander of the allied powers, MacArthur was the de facto ruler of Japan during the occupation period. Shouldn’t the historical view of such a person be known more widely?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

masamichi yabuki

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