Japan’s Asian Winter Games hotel to remove books denying Nanking Massacre
Guestrooms at APA Hotel in Sapporo, where Chinese athletes were booked to stay during sports event, contain books denying 1937 Nanking Massacre took place
A Japanese hotel chain under fire for books its president wrote denying the Nanking Massacre in wartime China will remove them from a hotel hosting athletes at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games, organisers said on Wednesday.
The Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer APA Group is at the centre of a furore over books by president and chief executive Toshio Motoya, which contain his revisionist views on history and are placed in every room of the company’s 400-plus APA Hotels.
Motoya, using the pen name Seiji Fuji, wrote of the Nanking Massacre that “these acts were all said to be committed by the Japanese army, but this is not true”.
He also denied stories of Korean women being forced to work as prostitutes in wartime military brothels, the so-called “comfort women”.
China has said that Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in Nanking – now known as Nanjing – from December 1937 to January 1938.
A post-war Allied tribunal put the death toll at about half that number. To the fury of China, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics deny the massacre took place, or they put the death toll much lower.
An official for the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games, which will run from February 19 to 26, said that when the APA Hotel in Sapporo was chosen to host athletes last year it had verbally agreed to remove the contentious material from the rooms.
“Our goal is to make an environment where all the athletes can perform at their best,” added the official, who declined to be named.
Organisers are also working to find alternative lodging for Chinese athletes.
South Korea also joined China in asking the organiser to change the hotel for its athletes owing to the book controversy.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee made the request on Tuesday to the organising committee of the winter sports event which is being held in Sapporo and Obihiro in Hokkaido.
In Sapporo, about 1,700 athletes and other Asian Games participants were scheduled to stay at the APA Hotel & Resort, and about 350 at the Sapporo Prince Hotel.
APA said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday that it had received a written request from the Games organisers with “advice” about amenities in the rooms.
“Based on this, during the period of the games, we will remove materials from the rooms and hold them safely at the hotel,” it added.
APA was not immediately available for further comment.
China’s tourism authorities have urged tour operators to sever ties with the hotel chain after an escalating row over the denial, and there have been boycott calls on social media against both the hotel and travel to Japan.
Motoya said last month that Chinese tourists made up only 5 per cent of guests at his hotels in Japan and he was not worried about the impact of any potential boycott.
Reuters and Kyodo