SAPPORO – South Korea’s top sports body announced Tuesday that its athletes will not stay at the Apa Hotel & Resort in Sapporo during the Asian Winter Games that begin in Hokkaido later this month.
The announcement follows objections by officials in Seoul over a controversial history book the Apa Hotel chain places in rooms that denies so-called “comfort women” were forcibly procured to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II, many of whom were from the Korean Peninsula. The book also asserts that the 1937 Nanking Massacre in China was fabricated.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said its athletes will instead stay at the Sapporo Prince Hotel during the event to be held in the cities of Sapporo and Obihiro from Feb. 19-26.
The move will affect about 170 South Korean athletes.
Aside from South Korea, the Chinese Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, the apex sports body in Asia, have also asked the organizer of the Asian Winter Games to find accommodations other than those at the Apa Hotel & Resort in Sapporo’s Minami Ward.
It has been argued that the book’s presence in athletes’ rooms runs counter to a by-law of Article 36 of the council’s constitution and rules, which states that “no kind of demonstration, political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any OCA games sites, venues or other area, associated with the games.”