Last week we already told our readers about a scandal over books written by the president of a large Japanese hotel chain. As in these books the Nanjing Massacre in China was denied, they caused a massive protest in Chinese media. A formal request was sent to the Japanese chain and it replied it could remove the book, at least from some hotels.
Japanese hotelier and developer APA Group is heavily criticized in Chinese media because of a book written by president Toshio Motoya under a pen name Seiji Fuji. In the book he calls the Nanjing Massacre “impossible”. The book is present in all guestrooms of hotels that belong to APA Group. Actually, the books have been there for years, but no one really noticed them until a video appeared in Chinese social media, causing a massive scandal. At first, Motoya said the books wouldn’t be removed from hotels because the Japanese freedom of speech law allowed him to have his own opinion on the subject.
However, this month the hotels host participants of the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games. In order to create favorable atmosphere for all athletes, travel agencies asked the hotel chain to remove the books. APA said they would fulfill the request if it is made in a formal written manner. APA hotels were chosen for the games on the island of Hokkaido yet in 2015, and, according to officials, at that time no one knew about the books. Organizers of the event had to discuss the issue with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in order to solve the unexpected problem. The Chinese Olympic Committee, in their turn, stated the APA had violated the Olympic charter, according to which any politic-related actions are prohibited at venues.
China’s tourism administration encourages tour operators to stop booking rooms at all APA Group hotels. President Motoya earlier told Reuters he was not worried about a possible ban as the share of Chinese guests in the total number of visitors at his hotels was only 5%.