Japan Hotel Faces China Backlash After Denying Nanjing Massacre

  • Book by CEO of APA hotel chain says Nanjing Massacre ‘absurd’
  • APA rooms vanish from China hotel sites after online video

Japanese hotel chain APA Group faced fire from Chinese tourists after a video showed the hotel carrying literature that denies Japan’s wartime atrocities. 

A book, available in the hotel chain’s rooms and written by the group’s chief executive officer, characterized as “absurd” the Chinese position that 300,000 people were killed in the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. The book says the incident was “fabricated by the Chinese side and did not actually happen.”

Toshio Motoya
Source: AP Photo

Two tourists who stayed at one of the group’s hotels showed the book in an online video, which quickly went viral on Weibo Corp.’s social media site, attracting more than 95 million views. The hotel chain is popular with local businessmen and foreign tourists alike, and has locations in many of Japan’s most popular destinations.

APA said in a statement that the views were based on the findings of its CEO, Toshio Motoya, and were intended to present a “true interpretation of modern history.” The chain has “no intention” to withdraw the book from its rooms despite the criticism. The closely held APA chain operates some 50,000 hotel rooms in Japan, and has been expanding in the U.S.

No Vacancies

Huawang International Group, a Chinese travel company operating in Japan, said in a statement on its Weibo account that it wouldn’t provide reservations for the hotel group until the CEO removes the books and “publicly apologizes.” Searches for APA Hotel on the website of Ctrip.com International Ltd., which dominates the China travel market, showed no vacancies on any date, while searches for the hotel on eLong.com yielded no results.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing yesterday that the incident showed some in Japan were “reluctant to look squarely at history” and warned that history shouldn’t be distorted by turning a “blind eye” to facts.

Spending by Chinese tourists has been a source of growth for Japan’s economy in recent years, with visitors passing an annual 6 million for the first time in 2016, a 28 percent increase from the previous year.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo that the Japanese government believed it was important “not to overly focus on the unfortunate past but for Japan and China to tackle issues currently facing the international community.”

China and Japan disagree about facts regarding the 1937 massacre, including the number killed. The Japanese government’s stance is that “it cannot be denied” that the “killing of a large number of noncombatants” occurred, but says “it is difficult to determine” the number of people killed.

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