Japanese hotel operator APA Group has promised to remove controversial books from the guest rooms that will be used by athletes during the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo next month.
The hotel chain will remove from games-related facilities all copies of books that deny the Nanjing massacre ever took place during Japan’s wartime occupation of China, Beijing says.
The books, written by a top executive of APA Group, will not be there in any of the hotels that will house the winter games athletes, according to China’s foreign ministry.
Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the announcement Thursday, citing a letter received by the Chinese Olympic Committee from the secretary general of the sports event, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The Japanese group has decided to pull the books from its guest rooms, hotel lobbies and counters, according to the letter.
The move comes after Chinese authorities threatened a boycott of the APA Group over the hotelier’s denial of the 1937 Nanjing massacre.
A furor erupted this month after APA began placing in all its guest rooms books written by the group’s president, Toshio Motoya, that air his revisionist views on Japan’s wartime past.
Among various assertions, Motoya claims that the Nanjing massacre never took place and that the Japanese army was falsely accused of the atrocity during their occupation of China.
Taking umbrage at the denial, China National Tourism Administration urged the nation’s tour operators to boycott APA Group.
Meanwhile, the winter games organizers were worried as some APA hotels were among the facilities that would be serving the athletes arriving for the sports event.
With some foreign sports associations expressing concern and asking the organizers to do something, APA Group has apparently been talked into pulling the books.
Chinese spokeswoman Hua said on Thursday that Beijing hopes the promise will be fulfilled so that conflicts resulting from the books will not reemerge during the winter games period between Feb 19 and 26.
A spokesman from the Chinese Olympic Committee said it has asked its Japanese counterpart to strictly abide the Olympic Charter, which forbids any form of political display or promotion in all Olympic venues.
China has also urged the Olympic Council of Asia to ask Japan to take remedial measures immediately.
Japan’s wartime occupation of Nanjing, and the resulting massacre, is a highly contentious issue between the two Asian neighbors.
Motoya’s books claim the Nanjing massacre was made up by the Chinese and that it never happened.
China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the city.
Motoya has been quoted as saying that the controversy over his books has not led to his hotel chain suffering any major losses.
Instead, the row helped boost the group’s profile, he said, adding that the books merely aim to tell the “truth”.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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