The Board of Education, along with its teachers get together to decide which textbooks to use in their schools. The selection process for which books to use is highly contentious because the BOE and the Japanese Government rarely see eye-to-eye on what curriculum is best for students. I will introduce three textbooks in this post.
On the one hand, many of the teachers are seen as left-wing leaning in their stance on education, and prefer to teach on themes that are light hearted watered down versions of history, English, and social studies. On the other hand, the government wants to introduce a more progressive curriculum for students with subjects that touch on oral history and real life situations related to Japan.
Most Japanese students of today have zero relevant knowledge about the world other than their own subculture. Most high schoolers are still reading books about how to make friends with foreigners and how to be more international minded even now - in 2016! They are way behind the Times. I have argued with these people about their materials and what they should be presenting to the younger generation of today. Ignorance is bliss is no longer cute.
The two big textbooks being used in Japanese high schools are Big Dipper and Vivid for the English program. These two textbooks teach more than just English, they also teach social studies, history, and cultural awareness with little care about how useful the subject material would be in a real life situation. I have read these books from cover to cover and find the contents rather non-educational. Topics on the internet, telephone talking, and American activities, and more fill the pages of this book... The usual subjects but repackaged and re-taught again every single year. Publishers are Suken Shuppan and Daiichi Gakushusha.
The textbooks I brought to their attention and one that all high schools in Japan should be teaching is published by Ikuhosha. This is a government-approved textbook that covers more relevant topics of today more vigorously. The books is titled atarashii mina koumin ( Everybody is new Citizen). This book touches on topics related to Japan with a more mature angle. Subjects that make students think about the realities of their own country and the world. Most teachers focus attention away from issues at home, and only focus on light topics and on subject material that is not thought-provoking.
This would explain why many young people take little interest in what is happening in their societies today, and why many simply do not care. The ones that do care don't think they can do anything to bring change or that their voices have no meaning.