Okinawans Protest Japan's Plan to Revise Bitter Chapter of World War II





For the past quarter of a century, Japan’s high school textbooks had included the accepted historical fact that that Okinawans had been coerced into mass suicides by Imperial Army soldiers.

But six months ago, the Education Ministry said that next year’s government-endorsed textbooks would eliminate all references to Japan’s soldiers. According to the revised passages, the Okinawans simply committed mass suicide or felt compelled to do so. But by whom?

“If Japanese soldiers had not been there, the mass suicides would have never occurred,” said Mr. Kinjo, who said he decided not to kill himself after he saw that Japanese soldiers were not committing suicide.

The ministry said that it “is not clear that the Japanese Army coerced or ordered the mass suicides” but cited no fresh evidence to explain its change in policy. What was clear, though, was the timing of the announcement, which came a few months after the Japanese government passed a new law emphasizing “patriotism” in public schools.


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