TOKYO (TR) – A South Korean newspaper reported that the CEO of controversial chain APA Hotels & Resorts said reservations by Chinese guests “will not be accepted” at its outlets when he in fact did not make such a statement, the Sankei Shimbun reported on Monday (Jan. 24).
Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo reported that Toshio Motoya, the 73-year-old CEO of the chain’s operator, APA Group, made the comment on Thursday in a video recording of a meeting of his “Shoheijuku” project, which he calls a private school launched under the APA Group name to discuss a “true modern historical perspective” and the “revival of Japan,” according to its official website.
But Motoya does not appear to make the comment in the video as claimed by the now-deleted JoongAng Ilbo article, which was published on its Japanese website.
Since earlier this month, the chain has been at the center of controversy over books written by Motoya that can be found inside its rooms. In the books, the CEO denies the existence of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, calling the historical event an “imaginary” one created by China. He also denies Japan’s forced recruitment of so-called “comfort women” during wartime.
With the chain refusing to remove the books, the China National Tourism Administration is now urging travel agents and websites to remove listings and advertisements for APA outlets.
Since the outbreak of the squabble, the website of the APA Group seems to have been hit by repeated cyber attacks, J-Cast News reports (Jan. 19). In the aforementioned video uploaded to Shoheijuku’s YouTube channel on Saturday, Motoya refers to problems with the site. “In business terms, the situation as it stands is that the site has stopped, that you can’t make reservations,” he said. “That you can’t make reservations on APA’s official site. From China, too, if you try to reserve…reservations can’t be made. That’s how things seem to be, although we might take a hit from that.”
A spokesperson from APA Group told the Sankei that in the footage, “Motoya is saying, physically, that bookings can’t be made from China.”
In the deleted article, JoongAng Ilbo cited an article dated January 23 from Global Times, a newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. In the text, Motoya is falsely quoted as saying, “Removal [of the book] is not being considered, and reservations by Chinese people will not be accepted.”