[EDITORIALS]Textbook Rejections Nurture Hope

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[EDITORIALS]Textbook Rejections Nurture Hope

None of the public junior high schools in Japan has yet selected the textbook published by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

According to the Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21, a civic organization protesting against the controversial textbook, about 20 percent of public junior high schools have selected textbooks so far. Yet of the 543 districts, none reportedly chose the controversial textbook that distorts history.

Although Shimotsuga district of Tochigi Prefecture once selected the controversial textbook, more than half of the local self-autonomous bodies governing the district protested against the decision, assuring that the decision will be reversed.

Even in extremely conservative regions, such as Chiba Prefecture and Obihiro and Sapporo of Hokkaido Prefecture, the textbook was ignored, despite the hope of Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

We still have to wait for an accurate outcome since Tokyo-do, governed by Shintaro Ishihara, an extreme rightist, and private junior highs have not yet made selections. Yet some already wonder if the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform could meet its 10 percent goal of adopting the textbook before the Aug. 15 selection deadline. The Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 held lectures protesting the textbook in 296 places nationwide. The group also distributed 240,000 handouts at 10 yen (7 cents) per copy, initiating a large movement unprecedented in Japanese civic movement history.

Haruki Wada, a professor emeritus at the Tokyo University, along with many intellectuals, strongly protested against the textbook by collecting signatures, publishing articles and holding seminars. As a result, a wave of textbook rejections is sweeping Japan. We thus applaud the sensible judgment of Japanese citizens.

The movement in Japanese society also provokes an important issue in countering the textbook crisis. While we have grown to understand each other, we should encourage and support the sensibleness of Japanese citizens. Civilian exchanges between Korea and Japan should be increased and promoted further.

We should never make the mistake of blocking civilian exchanges only because we disagree with the Japanese government's action.
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