National / Politics

South Korea joins China, asks Asian Games organizer to change hotel over Nanking Massacre denial book


South Korea has joined China in asking the organizer of the Asian Winter Games to change the hotel for its athletes due to a controversial history book placed in its guest rooms, the organizer said Wednesday.

The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee asked the organizer to find other accommodation than the Apa Hotel in Sapporo’s Minami Ward, following similar requests from the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, which sanctions the Asian Games.

The Apa Hotel places in guest rooms a book that denies the 1937 Nanking Massacre as well as the “forced recruitment of comfort women,” or women procured for Japanese military brothels before and during World War II. Many comfort women were from the Korean Peninsula, which was under Japanese rule before and during the war.

The South Korean committee made the request by phone and email Tuesday to the organizing committee of the winter sports event to be held in Sapporo and Obihiro in Hokkaido from Feb. 19 to 26.

In Sapporo, around 1,700 athletes and other Asian Games participants were scheduled to stay at the Apa Hotel & Resort, and approximately 350 at the Sapporo Prince Hotel.

The event organizer is now considering adding other hotels, it said.

The book placed in Apa hotel rooms, which was written by the company head, asserts that the Nanking Massacre was fabricated. China says more than 300,000 people were killed, while Japanese historians have estimated the number to range from the tens of thousands to 200,000.

The Apa hotel chain reportedly told the Winter Games organizer recently that it will remove the book from all guest rooms at its hotel in Sapporo for the duration of the games.

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