China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the government body that oversees tourism development in the mainland, has urged tour operators to sever ties with Japanese hotel chain APA Group.
The move follows an escalating row over the Japanese hotelier’s denial of the 1937 massacre by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing, Reuters reports.
A furor erupted this month over books by Toshio Motoya, president of Tokyo-based APA Group, that air his revisionist views and are placed in every room of the firm’s more than 400 hotels.
Motoya, using the pen name Seiji Fuji, wrote that stories of the Nanjing massacre were “impossible”.
“These acts were all said to be committed by the Japanese army, but this is not true,” he wrote.
Taking umbrage at the remarks, CNTA urged Chinese tour operators to boycott the Japanese hotel chain.
“We demand that all operators with international tours and online platforms completely stop all cooperation with this hotel,” spokesman Zhang Lizhong was quoted as saying in a statement Tuesday.
“We call on Chinese groups and the many tourists that visit Japan to resist APA’s wrong approach and avoid spending money at this hotel.”
The official Xinhua news agency added its voice on Tuesday, calling the incident “only the tip of the iceberg of Japan’s ultra-right wing’s efforts to revise the nation’s war history.”
Japan’s wartime occupation of Nanjing, and the resulting massacre is a highly contentious issue between the uneasy neighbors.
China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the city. A post-war Allied tribunal put the death toll at about half that.
To the fury of China, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics deny the massacre took place, or they put the death toll much lower.
Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda downplayed the incident on Tuesday, saying China and Japan should work together on common issues facing the international community, rather than focusing too much on the “unhappy past”.
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