The Organizing Committee of the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games (AWG) has announced that the Japanese hotel chain APA Group pledged to remove its controversial right-wing history books from the hotels that will be hosting the athletes during the Games, after the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) made a request.
The books deny Japanese war crimes during World War Two, and dismiss the Nanjing Massacre and comfort women as "untruths."
APA Hotel & Resort Sapporo is one of the official hotels that will accommodate 2,000 athletes, including Chinese and South Korean competitors, during the Asian Winter Games next month.
Providing the revisionist history books in rooms of APA hotels and selling them at its front desks have evoked the indignation of the Chinese people, the COC said in a statement published on its official website on Thursday, noting that the behavior of APA hotels violates Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter.
"No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas," the Olympic Charter reads.
By distorting history, APA has hurt the feelings of Asian people, especially the Chinese, COC noted.
"We have urged the Japanese side to strictly observe the Olympic Charter as well as related regulations of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)."
"We have also written to the OCA, asking them to urge the Japanese side to correct its mistake promptly," it added.
The organizers of the 2017 AWG replied to the COC, stating that the APA hotel chain has promised to withdraw all copies of the book, titled "Theoretical Modern History II - The Real History of Japan," from the rooms of the venue where the athletes will be hosted.
The 1937 Nanjing Massacre by the Japanese troops 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 China's Twitter-like Weibo by user "KatAndSid" last week, who shared excerpts of the book, written in Japanese and English by Toshio Motoya, the founder of the hotel chain.
China's National Tourism Administration on Tuesday called for all international tour operators and online booking platforms to completely halt cooperation with the hotel chain, and called on all Chinese tourists going to Japan to neither stay in nor purchase goods from APA hotels.
Spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying said earlier this week that "to forget about history is betrayal, and to deny guilt is doubling the crime."
Hua also called on Tokyo to "realize the gravity of the issue" and "properly handle" the issue to avoid disrupting bilateral relations.