Battle over Okinawa history in textbooks

In the largest demonstration in Okinawa since its return to Japan after World War Two, 110,000 people took to the streets and demanded that the Education Ministry refrain from editing textbooks that show that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to kill themselves and distributed hand grenades for that purpose. The Ministry says, “There is no proof that there were such orders. So it would be misleading to say the [Imperial] army was responsible.” There is evidence to the contrary.

Whether the military ordered people to kill themselves or not is trivial compared to the bigger picture, which was a fanatical government that was unwilling to admit that it had grabbed the tiger’s tail and knew it was going to get whacked at the expense of 200,000 Japanese lives, not to mention the lives of Allied forces involved in the effort. There were enough powerful people making enough money on the conflict that they refused to stop, put up their hands and say “enough.” Instead they opted to ride that cash cow a little longer, sacrificing all the people who died in Okinawa and in subsequent battles.

That is the greater horror. The Education Ministry is probably relieved that Okinawans have attached themselves to this tiny detail rather than looking at the bigger, much more significant picture.
Asia Times Online :: Japan News – Battle over Okinawa history rages on


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