Japan not to send senior officials to Beijing Olympics
BREAKING NEWS: China calls on Japan to support Beijing Olympics
Japan will not send a government delegation to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the top government spokesman said Friday, a decision seen as in line with a U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the sporting spectacle over China’s human rights record.
But Japanese athletes will attend the February games as scheduled, according to government sources. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan will send Seiko Hashimoto, a House of Councillors lawmaker and president of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics held this summer, and two others.
Photo taken in Beijing on Dec. 9, 2021, shows logos of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Canada, Australia and Britain said earlier they will not send government officials to next year’s Winter Games, joining the United States in their diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
The Japanese government gave up on a plan to send senior officials to the Beijing Games because it has seen little improvement in the human rights situations in the far-western Xinjiang region and Hong Kong, the sources said.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attaches importance to human rights as a major pillar of Japan’s diplomacy.
“We think it is important that universal values such as freedom, respect of basic human rights and rule of law are ensured in China,” Matsuno said. “We have made the decision by comprehensively taking into account such factors.”
However, Matsuno did not say the decision represents a diplomatic boycott, telling a press conference that the government “does not have a special term” to describe the move.
The announcement was made by Matsuno rather than Kishida as Japan is trying not to directly provoke the Chinese leadership, especially as Japan and China are set to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2022, according to the sources.
The two others who will attend the games are Japanese Olympic Committee head Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japanese Paralympic Committee chief Kazuyuki Mori.
The government apparently thought attendance by Hashimoto would achieve a balance with China, which sent Gou Zhongwen, head of the General Administration of Sport of China, to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
There were growing calls within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for a diplomatic boycott, and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met Kishida on Thursday, is believed to have urged Kishida to make the announcement quickly.
The United States and other countries such as Australia, Britain and Canada have announced similar measures. China has criticized the United States and other countries for their action regarding the Beijing Olympics, saying politicizing sports is against the spirit of the Olympic Charter.
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