Japan softens its military history in textbooks


Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

TOKYO - In another sign that Japan is pressing ahead in revising its history of World War II, new high school textbooks will no longer acknowledge that the Imperial Army was responsible for a major atrocity in Okinawa, the government announced late Friday.

The Ministry of Education ordered publishers to delete passages stating that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, as the island was about to fall to American troops in the final months of the war.

The decision on the Battle of Okinawa followed recent denials by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the military had coerced women into sexual slavery during the war.

The fresh denial of the military's responsibility in the Battle of Okinawa and in sexual slavery is likely to deepen suspicions in Asia that Tokyo is trying to whitewash its militarist past even as it tries to raise the profile of its current forces.

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