Objective of Textbook Examination

(provisional translation)

1. Significance of Textbook Examination

Japan has introduced a government examination system to examine textbooks intended for elementary, junior high, senior high and other schools in accordance with the School Education Law. Under the textbook examination process, the Minister of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (hereinafter referred to as "the Minister") screens textbooks that have been authored and compiled by private-sector publishers to determine their suitability for inclusion in school curriculums. Textbooks are approved for use upon their passing the screening.

Each national government has its own way of being involved in the selection of textbooks. The government examination system in Japan leaves the authoring and compilation of textbooks to private-sector publishers with a view to encouraging them to use their creativity and ingenuity, while ensuring the appropriateness of textbooks through the government examination.

2. Necessity of Textbook Examination

In order to guarantee the universal right to education, it is imperative that school education at elementary, junior high and senior high levels meet certain requirements. These include the maintenance and improvement of nationwide education standards, guaranteeing of equal opportunities for education, and the maintenance of appropriate educational content as well as securing neutrality in education. With that in mind, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) sets Courses of Study as standards for curriculums designed for use at elementary, junior high and senior high schools, and examines textbooks in consideration of their important role as the primary teaching materials.

3. Textbook Examination Timing

Textbooks are examined in a cycle of basically every four years for each school type/year level category. Each school year, the Minister makes an announcement on the eligible textbook categories and application periods with regard to examinations scheduled for the following school year.

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