“Freedom of speech” unacceptable as fig-leaf for Japanese ultra-right wing’s attempt to revise history


A Japanese hotel chain has sparked fury on Chinese social media recently for placing books in its guest rooms denying the Nanjing Massacre and the forced recruitment of “comfort women” ever happened.

The incident, after being exposed on social media by a young woman from the United States and confirmed independently by the media, including Xinhua, also sparked great controversy in Japan.

The hotel’s act, criticized by many people, was fiercely defended by some right wing forces here citing so-called “freedom of speech.”

Such a defense, however, fails to note the fact that freedom of speech, however important it is, should not wittingly strip away civil liberties by subverting a globally and historically-held truth.

Once such “freedom of speech” breaches the bottom line, it will inevitably meet staunch opposition from a correct-thinking and truth-observing public.

Meanwhile, it should also be noted that the hotel’s action is probably in violation of the Japanese hotel law, which stipulates that hotel operators shall not put in their facilities documents, drawings and other items, as well as advertisements, that damage good morals.

The APA hotel chain, owning over 400 hotels with more than 66,000 rooms, put a copy of a book titled “Theoretical Modern History – The Real History of Japan” by Seiji Fuji, the pen name of the hotel’s CEO, in all of its rooms in Japan.

The book, describing Japan’s attack at the Pearl Harbor as a conspiracy of the American side and depicting the “comfort women” as “prostitutes,” grossly distorts historical truth.

The author of the book also deliberately ignored solid evidence proving the atrocities committed by the invading Japanese army in Nanjing, including testimonies made by survivors and photos and records taken by witnesses from Europe and the United States.

The so-called “freedom of speech” is merely a fig-leaf used by the ultra-right wing forces in Japan to deny historical truth and revise the war history.

Meanwhile, some ultra-right wing forces here, while defending the untruthful accounts of history by the book, also fierce attack those who have expressed opposition to the hotel’s act, by sending threatening letters.

It shows further that their so-called “freedom of speech” is just a lie and utterly hypocritical.

One of the reasons that some ultra-right wing forces are so furious at the media’s exposure of the APA hotel chain’s provocative act is that it will definitely hurt the business of Japanese hotels, especially ahead of the Chinese Spring Festival, when Japan expects to host a lot of Chinese tourists during the period.

The APA hotel chain heavily depends on foreign guests and has obviously tailored its services to cater to non-Japanese.

Statistics show that close to a quarter of the hotels’ customers came from overseas in April 2015, with half coming from Japan’s Asian neighbors including China and South Korea.

In January 1995, a Japanese magazine called “Marco Polo” published by the Bungei Shunju Ltd. released an article which asserted the Nazis slaughtering the Jewish people in WWII was a fabrication and the Holocaust was “propaganda.”

The incident caused great anger from the Jewish people around the world and they called for a boycott of all advertisements on magazines published by Bungei Shunju Ltd.

Less than two weeks later, the publisher apologized and the magazine was closed.

As the Marco Polo incident shows, for the right wing forces here, their purses apparently are more important than their so-called “freedom of speech.” Enditem

Source: Lan Jianzhong, Yan Lei, Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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