Japanese sue over disputed history textbook

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A group of Japanese sued over a history textbook that critics say whitewashes Japan's wartime aggression and has angered Asian neighbors, demanding on Thursday that a local government cancel its adoption of the text.

Japan's Education Ministry approved the new edition of "The New History Textbook," written by nationalist scholars, last April, prompting outrage in China and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan's aggression until 1945 persist.

The lawsuit was filed by eight residents of Suginami, a residential district in western Tokyo that attracted media attention last year when it became one of the few school districts to adopt the junior high school textbook.

"As a resident, I can't keep silent over the choice of an unwanted textbook for growing children," Eriko Maruhama, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, told a news conference.

Besides a cancellation of the decision to use the text at 23 junior high schools in Suginami starting this April, the plaintiffs want a symbolic 8,000 yen ($68) in total damage.

A similar textbook lawsuit was filed in December by around 1,000 plaintiffs, including Chinese and South Koreans, against the governor of Ehime in western Japan for adopting the textbook for use at four government-run schools from April.

Plaintiffs in the latest suit say the defendant, the Suginami local government, adopted the textbook even though school teachers gave it low marks compared to other textbooks.

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