Ienaga Textbook Screening
Lawsuits, 1965-1997: An Overview
First Lawsuit for damage
Second Lawsuit for the retraction
of screening decision
In 1965 Professor Saburo Ienaga of Tokyo University of Education
filed a civil suit at the Tokyo District Court seeking compensation for
damages from the government (Minister of Education) for not approving his
textbook in the Ministry’s screening process. He argued that the screening
system was unconstitutional and illegal. In the ruling, which was made
9 years later (in 1974), I enaga partially won the case.
Both Ienaga and the government appealed to the Tokyo High
Court which gave a ruling in 1986 affirming the Ministry’s. screening system,
i.e., Ienaga lost the case.
Ienaga appealed to the Supreme Court, which gave a ruling
in 1993. Ienaga lost the case.
Third Lawsuit for damage
In 1967 Professor Ienaga filed an administrative suit seeking
retraction of the negative decision given to his textbook. In 1970 Judge
Sugimoto at the Tokyo District Court ruled that the screening decision
made with respect to his textbook was unconstitutional and ordered its
The Minister of Education appealed the case. In 1975 the
High Court gave a ruling recognizing Ienaga’s claim and the illegality
of the screening decision.
The Minister appealed the case to the Supreme Court. In 1982
the Court gave a ruling rejecting the High Court ruling of 1975. The case
was referred back to the High Court for a technical reason.
In 1989 the High Court ruled that there would be "no benefit
for pursuing the suit", as a result the case was
closed without a definite ruling on the textbook screening system itself.
In 1984 Professor Ienaga again filed a civil suit at the
Tokyo District Court. In this suit Ienaga sought compensation for the rejection
of some portions of his textbooks in the Ministry’s screening in 1980,
1982 and 1983. In the ruling of 1989 most of the Ministry’s arguments were
Both Ienaga and the Ministry appealed to the High Court,
which gave a ruling in 1993. The court decided that the Ministry’s screening
comments on the Massacre and rapes by the Japanese military in Nanking
were wrong and illegal.
Ienaga appealed to the Supreme Court in regard to other screening
comments. An oral hearing will be held at the
Small Bench of the Supreme Court (with 5 judges) on July 18 and a decision
will possibly be made by the end of .