Despite boycott calls from China’s tourism body, hotel operator Apa Group said it will not remove books, written by its CEO and placed in its hotel rooms, that deny the Nanking Massacre.
But the operator of the Apa Hotels & Resorts chain also said it would consider withdrawing the books from a hotel in Sapporo, where a major winter sporting event is scheduled to take place next month.
The book, titled “Theoretical Modern History II — The Real History of Japan,” was written by CEO Toshio Motoya under the pen name Seiji Fuji. It claims that the Imperial Japanese Army’s involvement in the 1937 Nanking Massacre “was fabricated by the Chinese side and did not actually happen.”
China says more than 300,000 people, including civilians, were slaughtered in the massacre.
The hotel chain has come under fire in China after a video about the book was spread on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo on Jan. 15.
China National Tourism Administration spokesman Zhang Lizhong reacted to the uproar on Tuesday by criticizing the “provocation” of Chinese tourists. Lizhong urged tour operators to stop cooperating with the chain “to resist Apa’s wrong approach and avoid spending money at this hotel.”
Despite the call to cut ties with the group, “the company’s policy not to withdraw the book remains unchanged,” the Apa Group said in a statement issued on its website Tuesday.
The statement also expressed concerns over whether it is right for a state government to criticize the activity of an individual company, while admitting it is not in a position to comment on the Chinese government’s policy.
Meanwhile, the group said in a separate statement that it would consider removing copies of the book from its hotel in Sapporo, which is designated as an accommodation for participants in the Asian Winter Games in late February, if the organizer submits an official written request.
But the company said the move is not related to the controversy. It said it received a request in April 2015 to remove all publications, including the CEO’s book, when the organizer asked to use a hotel to host athletes from some 30 countries and regions, including those from China and South Korea.
An official of the South Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said Wednesday that it has sent a letter urging the organizer of the games to take “appropriate steps,” saying that it is “hurting the basic spirit of sports” for such a book to be placed in rooms to be used by athletes, according to Kyodo News.
The book, which is written in both Japanese and English, has also drawn fire from South Korea, because it also claims that the “comfort women” who worked in Japanese wartime military brothels were not forced to do so.
The company denied reports that Motoya said the company would reject reservations from Chinese nationals, claiming that reservations were unavailable due to boycotts from Chinese travel agencies and cyberattacks. It said its website went back into operation from Monday.
On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said Tokyo does not intend to comment on the furor, saying the government should not intervene in the activity of a private company.