Japan hotel to remove books on massacre

TOKYO • A Japanese hotel chain under fire for books its president wrote denying the Nanjing Massacre in wartime China will remove them from a hotel hosting athletes at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games, organisers said yesterday.

APA Group, a Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer, is at the centre of a furore over books by Mr Toshio Motoya, which contain his revisionist views on history and are placed in every room of APA's 400-plus hotels.

Using the pen name Seiji Fuji, Mr Motoya wrote of the 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 forced to work as prostitutes in wartime military brothels, the so-called comfort women.

China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in Nanjing from December 1937 to January 1938. 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 say the death toll was much lower.

An official for the Sapporo Asian Winter Games, to run from Feb 19 to 26, said that when the APA hotel in Sapporo was chosen to host athletes last year, it verbally agreed to remove the contentious material. "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.

APA said in a statement that it received a written request from the Games organisers on 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.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'Japan hotel to remove books on massacre'. Print Edition | Subscribe