SAPPORO – The organizing committee for the upcoming Asian Winter Games will change the lodgings for Chinese athletes from the Apa Hotel in Sapporo, where copies of a book denying the 1937 Nanking Massacre are placed in guest rooms, a committee source said Tuesday.
Following a furor in China over the book’s placement in Apa rooms, the Olympic Council of Asia, the body that governs sports events in Asia, and the Chinese Olympic Committee have both requested that Chinese athletes not stay at the hotel.
The athletes can stay at the Sapporo Prince Hotel, the other hotel within the city designated for Asian Games accommodations, or other hotels outside the area, according to the organizing committee.
The 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games, involving participants from 31 countries and regions, will start in February. The Apa Hotel in Sapporo had been set to host the largest number of athletes.
The book in question is a compilation of essays written by Toshio Motoya, head of the hotel chain’s operator, Apa Group. The book, written in Japanese and English and placed in every guest room at Apa group hotels, asserts that the massacre in the city now known as Nanjing, which China says resulted in the deaths of more than 300,000 people, was fabricated.
The Apa hotel chain has told the organizing committee that it intends to remove information materials, including the book, from the guest rooms at the Sapporo hotel.
Japanese historians have estimated the number of victims to range from the tens of thousands to 200,000.
The chain operates 415 hotels worldwide, with a total of 67,500 rooms, according to the Apa group website. It has recently expanded to North America, where it has acquired 40 hotels.
About 20 percent of the chain’s guests are non-Japanese, the company said, noting Chinese nationals make up about 5 percent of all guests.