Japanese inn states it would reject Russians, Belarusians over war

© Kyodo News

An inn in central Japan had declared on its website that it would deny lodging to Russians and Belarusians in protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine with the support of Belarus, before being urged by local authorities to stop the act, the inn and local officials said Tuesday.

The inn, located in Nagahama in Shiga Prefecture, admitted that rejecting guests from the two countries, although not a single customer from Russia or Belarus actually sought to stay there, was "a wrong method" of denouncing Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

The statement was posted on Feb. 26, just after Russia invaded its neighbor, according to the inn and Shiga prefectural officials. In it, the inn operator said it would "stop accepting any guests from Russia and Belarus" as it "opposes Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

The prefectural government told the inn on Monday that the statement is suspected of violating Japan's Hotel Business Act, which prohibits hoteliers from denying a person lodging except for some specific cases, such as when the person has an infectious disease.

Following the guidance from the officials, the inn deleted the statement and posted a new one saying it would accept guests from the two countries.

"(The inn) feels strong anger toward the behaviors of Russia and Belarus. However, people of Russia and Belarus are innocent," it said in the new statement.

A spokesperson of the inn told Kyodo News that the previous statement was uploaded "out of feelings of wanting to stop the invasion soon."