Invoking a provision of the Local Autonomy Law, the education ministry has instructed the Okinawa prefectural board of education to make the board of education of Taketomi Town, in the Yaeyama Islands area, change its decision to not adopt a right-leaning civics textbook for junior high schools. This is a blatant attempt by the central government to impose the use of a particular textbook on a municipality. The Taketomi board of education had made its decision on the strength of the law on local education administration that stipulates that the power to select school textbooks lies with each board of education. As such, it did nothing wrong. The education ministry should respect the board's decision, which reflected the will of local citizens.
In August 2011, a school textbook selection council for the Yaeyama Islands area chose a textbook compiled by Ikuhosha Co. as the junior high civics textbook for the area's three municipalities. The selection council's textbook researchers actually did not recommend the Ikuhosha textbook but once their negative views of the textbook became clear, the council head changed the council's rule to allow it to select unrecommended textbooks. The Ishigaki City and Yonakuni Town boards of education accepted the selection by the council, which includes education administrators and educators from the three municipalities.
The Ikuhosha textbook reflects a conservative perspective. For example, it downplays the importance of the Constitution's war-renouncing Article 9, fails to mention Okinawans' burden under the heavy U.S. military presence and praises nuclear power. Because of this, the Taketomi board of education opted for a textbook by Tokyo Shoseki Co. Rather than try to force the Taketomi board of education to adopt the Ikuhosha texbook, the education ministry's first obligation should have been to investigate whether the council's sudden rule change was legitimate.