APA Group CEO Toshio Motoya arrives at a news conference on publication of his book in Tokyo, Japan June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai(reuters_tickers)
By Elaine Lies
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese hotelier who denies that a 1937 massacre by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing ever took place has "no intention" of removing books with his revisionist views from his hotels during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer APA Group came under fire this year over books by its chief executive, Toshio Motoya, which contain essays in which he says the Nanjing Massacre never happened.
The books are placed in every room of the company's 400-plus APA Hotels.
Following protests, including Chinese calls for a boycott of the chain, APA temporarily removed the books from hotels hosting athletes for a sports event on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.
In his latest book, entitled "The Real History of Japan: Japan Pride", Motoya says the "so-called Nanking Massacre story" is "fabricated" and blames looting and killings in the city on members of the Chinese army.
"The Japanese army merely exposed and put to death the plainclothes soldiers (guerrillas) who abandoned their uniforms, stole the garments of regular citizens, and were hiding in the refugee zone with weapons and ammunition," he wrote in the book, printed in English and Japanese.
China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in Nanjing from December 1937 to January 1938. A post-war Allied tribunal put the death toll at about half that.
To the fury of China, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics deny the massacre ever took place, or they put the death toll much lower.
On Friday, Motoya said he would not remove his books from the hotels during the Tokyo Olympics.
"Would I remove the books during the Olympics just because they're the Tokyo Olympics? That's really stupid," he said at an event to mark the publication of the book.
His firm has 72 hotels, either built or in the planning stages, in the Japanese capital, which suffers from a hotel crunch that has planners fearing a shortage of rooms during the Games.
"Is there something strange about putting my books in my hotels?" he asked. "From the start, I have no intention of removing them for that reason."
Motoya, who also says Korean women who worked in wartime brothels - the so-called comfort women - were not coerced, also denied on Friday that books were removed from hotels this year, saying contractual obligations meant that "nothing with information" could be left in the rooms.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Robert Birsel)