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Okinawans expand protest against textbook changes

Date Posted: 2007-08-10

The government’s decision to change historical accounts of the Battle of Okinawa in school textbooks to be published before next Spring continues to meet aggressive resistance from Okinawans.
The changes, which remove statements about Imperial Japanese Army soldiers telling Okinawans to commit suicide rather than surrender to Americans in 1945, are hotly contested by Okinawans. Survivors of the battle insist it did happen, complete with Japanese soldiers providing the hand grenades to be used in the suicides. Okinawa is demanding the textbook accounts remain factual, as they now are.
A ground swell of protest support has expanded to the Prefecture Assembly, which plans to participate in a huge rally that will reinforce Okinawa’s opposition. The suprapartisan meeting, chaired by Vice Governor Zenki Nakazato, will demand Tokyo rescind its decision. If the meeting is to be non-partisan, even Governor Hirokazu Nakaima will attend. The governor had earlier indicated he would not participate.
“We are going to set up the Prefecture People’s Meeting Committee Council,” says Tetsunagu Tamayose, “and we’re going to require every political group to attend. Six groups, including the PTA Union, Prefecture Children’s Liaison Committee Group, Senior Citizens Group and the Prefecture Survivors Union, are already committed.
A Prefecture People’s Meeting was held nearly 12 years ago, October 21st, 1995, to protest the rape of an Okinawa girl by American military personnel.

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