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Mayor admits asking schools to stop using history textbooks mentioning 'comfort women'

Hofu Mayor Masato Matsuura (Photo courtesy of the Hofu Municipal Government)

HOFU, Yamaguchi -- The mayor of this regional city on Sept. 25 admitted having sent postcards to several junior high schools asking them to refrain from using a history textbook that mentioned the wartime issue of so-called "comfort women."

"I sent them not as protests but as 'requests,'" the mayor, Masato Matsuura, said during a regularly scheduled news conference. He added that he felt the content of the textbook was "anti-Japanese" and "extreme left-wing."

The textbook in question is published by Tokyo-based Manabisha. Matsuura said someone had sent his office postcards that were already named and addressed, bearing the request, "I would like you stop using this (textbook) immediately." He agreed with the content, signed the postcards "Hofu Mayor Masato Matsuura," and posted them to several schools.

In response to a question, the mayor said that he sent the postcards "about 2 1/2 years ago."

Matsuura also said the school to which he had sent the postcards may include Nada Junior High School in Kobe, one of the highest-ranked junior high schools in the country, and commented, "It's a problem to teach biased information."

Matsuura serves as president of the Japan Association of City Mayors.

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