TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese organisers of this month's Asian Winter Games have changed the accommodation for Chinese and South Korean athletes after a row over a hotelier's inflammatory war book, officials and local media said Tuesday (Feb 7).
The Tokyo-based APA hotel group and other hotels will welcome some 2,300 athletes and supporters from more than 30 countries to Sapporo for the Feb 19-26 Games.
But APA, one of Japan's largest hotel chains, has triggered an angry backlash from China for a book written by APA's chief executive and placed in guest rooms, which claims that the infamous 1937 Nanjing massacre committed by Japanese troops was a "fabrication".
"Considering an instruction from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and other factors, we have decided that the Chinese and South Korean delegations will not stay at APA hotels," a Japanese official of the organising committee told AFP.
Local media said the two delegations were originally scheduled to stay at APA hotels, but the committee official declined to confirm this.
Some 230 Chinese and a similar number of South Koreans are being found new accommodation.
The APA chain insisted it would not remove the controversial book, which also disputes Japan's wartime sex slavery in Korea, from its other hotels in Japan and abroad.
But APA said last week it would now "temporarily" remove all items from rooms in Sapporo except those deemed acceptable by Games organisers, though it said the move was not due to external pressure.
Toshio Motoya, chief executive of the APA hotel group, wrote the book under a pen name disputing Chinese claims that 300,000 people died in a six-week killing spree by the Japanese military.
The Japanese invaded China in the 1930s and the two countries fought a full-scale war from 1937 until Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945.
Some respected foreign academics estimate a lower number were killed in the Nanjing massacre, but there are few mainstream scholars who doubt that it took place.