April 09, 2015 11:58
From next year, elementary schoolchildren here will learn about the plight of women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The government said Wednesday it will distribute supplementary textbooks to teach elementary, middle and high school students about the victims Japan euphemistically refers to as "comfort women."
An official at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said concerns were raised in 2013 that existing textbooks do not contain enough information about the atrocity.
Middle and high school textbooks currently contain only half a page to two pages worth of information about the sex slaves. A team of writers tasked with preparing the supplementary texts surveyed 152 elementary schoolchildren, and 48.7 percent said they knew nothing about the subject, while 24.3 percent said they knew a little and only 19.1 percent said they knew the subject well.
The supplementary text will be 40 pages long and will be distributed to classes in the fifth grade and up. Videos and a teacher's manual will also be supplied.
"The Education Ministry and a special National Assembly committee dealing with Japan's attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities will review the supplementary text before it is distributed later this month for use in the second half of this year," a ministry official said.
The government will prod schools to use the texts in modern history classes.
From 2018, revised textbooks will contain detailed information about the suffering and human rights abuses the women endured.
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