Sunday, September 30, 2007


More than 100,000 people in Japan have taken part in a rally against changes to school textbook accounts of a controversial wartime episode.
The Okinawa protest was over education ministry moves to change passages in new history books about mass suicides on the island during World War II.
The books suggested Japanese soldiers forced civilians to kill themselves, a claim supported by many Okinawans.
Demonstrators accused the government of trying to rewrite history.
The Okinawa assembly has urged ministers to think again about its order to publishers to make revisions and submit them for approval.
Saturday's rally was the biggest staged on the southern island since it was returned to Japan by the United States in 1972, according to the Kyodo News agency.
When US soldiers invaded Okinawa at the end of World War II, more than 200,000 people died.
Hundreds of them were Japanese civilians who killed themselves.
The textbooks, intended for use in high schools next year, said that as the Americans prepared to invade, the Japanese army handed out grenades to Okinawa residents and ordered them to kill themselves.
Many survivors insist the military told people to commit suicide, partly due to fears over what they might tell the invaders and because being taken prisoner was considered shameful.



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