Text: “Publishers revise textbook phrases about ‘forced’ Korean laborers.” Asashi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14585864

There have been a number of ongoing issues between Japan and Korea over Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea and how those issues are addressed in textbooks.

In Japan textbooks for school use must be approved by the central government and this power gives the government the ability to influence what students learn. Under the current system, the central government has the power to require textbook publishers to make alterations to a textbook before it can be approved. This differs from some other countries where local governments have a greater (or complete) role in these sorts of issues.

Critics of the government’s approach (including some domestic critics) state that the government’s approach hurts the country’s credibility. Some of these critics point to Germany’s approach in which the history curriculum deals very openly and directly with its wartime past.