Japan orders history books changed





The government ordered changes Friday to seven history textbooks describing how the Japanese army forced civilians to commit mass suicide at the end of World War II, the country’s latest effort to soften brutal accounts of its wartime conduct.

The high school textbooks say the army -- faced with an impending U.S. invasion in 1945 -- handed out grenades to residents on the southern island of Okinawa and ordered them to kill themselves rather than surrender to the Americans.

The Education Ministry said there was no definitive evidence that the suicides were ordered by the army. The publishers were asked to modify the relevant passages and submit the changes for approval by a government-appointed panel.

”There are divergent views of whether or not the suicides were ordered by the army, and no proof to say either way. So it would be misleading to say the army was responsible,” said Education Ministry official Yumiko Tomimori.




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