The China National Tourism Administration urged Japan’s APA Hotel to withdraw the books denying Japanese war crimes during World War Two in its hotel rooms on Tuesday, along with a call for all domestic outbound tourism businesses to end cooperation with the hotel chain.
"The wrongdoing of APA Hotel is a blatant provocation of Chinese tourists, and it severely violates the morals of tourism industry, which we strongly oppose," said administration spokesperson Zhang Lizhong at a press conference in Beijing.
Officials from the China National Tourism Administration speak at a press conference in Beijing, China, on January 24, 2017. /CNTA Photo
According to Zhang, CNTA’s office in Japan has earlier demanded the hotel chain to remove all the books. Now that the APA Group insisted on the "wrongdoing," China requested that all outbound tourism business and e-commerce platforms to terminate cooperation with the hotel and remove all the tourism products and related advertisements.
The tourism authority called on all Chinese tourists going to Japan neither to live nor to purchase anything in APA hotels as well.
The APA Hotel chain operator, APA Group, has placed copies of the book, “Theoretical Modern History II - The Real History of Japan” in its hotel rooms across Japan, as well as selling them in the hotels' lobbies. The book denies the 1937 Nanjing Massacre by Japanese troops, which resulted in some 300,000 deaths, as well as the forced recruitment of “comfort women.”
The issue was brought to light after a ten minute video was posted on Sina Weibo by user "KatAndSid” on Sunday, who shared excerpts of the book, which is written in Japanese and English by Toshio Motoya, founder of APA Group.
Tourists walk in front of an APA Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, January 21, 2017. /CFP Photo
The act has sparked outrage in China. However, despite the furor, Toshio on Sunday claimed to have no intention to withdraw the right-wing book from hotel rooms, saying that people will forget it mere months later. The hotel also said in a statement on its website last week that, "We have no intention to withdraw this book from our guest rooms."
So far, no condemnations have come from the Japanese authorities and Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida even urged Beijing not to focus too much on a short episode in China and Japan’s 2,000-year history.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit back again on Monday, saying “to forget about history is betrayal, and to deny guilt is doubling the crime.”
“A small group of Japanese individuals are desperate to erase their historical crime. The more eager they are to do so, the more likely it will evoke people's memory of the past,” she said, noting that the recent actions had “already triggered strong indignation of the Chinese people.”
Hua called on Tokyo to “realize the gravity of the issue” and “properly handle” the issue to avoid disrupting bilateral relations.