Japan hotel operator under fire for anti-Semitic remarks

Japanese hotel operator says Jews 'control US information, finance, and laws' and 'don't have to pay any taxes.'



The operator of a Japanese hotel chain is already in hot water for denying a Japanese World War II atrocity has come under fire for reported anti-Semitic remarks.

Toshio Motoya is CEO of APA Group, which calls itself Japan's largest hotel chain, and has drawn Chinese criticism for writing a book denying the 1937 Nanjing massacre happened and placing copies in hundreds of APA hotel rooms.

The group also runs 40 hotels in North America and its February edition of an in-house magazine for guests staying at its Canada properties contained the anti-Semitic remarks.

"Jewish people control American information, finance, and laws, and they benefit greatly from globalization because they move their massive profits to tax havens so they don't have to pay any taxes," Motoya said in the magazine, according to Canadian online news website National Observer and the Japan Times newspaper.

In response to a complaint by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Motoya denied being anti-Jewish.

"It is very unfortunate that my writings gave you an erroneous impression that I hold anti-Semitic beliefs," he said in a statement posted on the federation's website.

The APA Group, however, denied the statement was meant to say sorry.

It "is not an apology," the hotel said Wednesday in a written reply to questions submitted by AFP. "It was issued to resolve the misunderstanding because (Motoya) was being stigmatized as an anti-Semite."

The text of the February issue's website version was revised and the printed version replaced with the March edition.

APA said Motoya changed the text and removed sentences that drew "misunderstanding."

"Some expressions were slightly exaggerated, although they were meant to educate the Japanese," APA said.

Actions and comments deemed anti-Semitic have frequently drawn controversy in Japan, with ignorance rather than malicious intent usually blamed.

Last year, Sony Music and the producer behind a Japanese girl band apologized for having the singers perform in military-style costumes resembling Nazi uniforms.

And rock band Kishidan angered the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2011 when they wore a costume the Jewish organisation said resembled a Nazi uniform.