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Japan also to diplomatically boycott Beijing Olympics


The latest string of diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Games continues with Japan now stating they will follow other nations, and it is really no surprise given the difficult history the two Asian countries have had with each other. Human rights is a big issue among Western nations and their allies, and China seems unwilling to understand that basic rights and freedom are important to many in the world, this may just be the beginning to what may become an all-out boycott. As reported by the AP:

Japan will not be sending a delegation, but will have only three Olympic officials in attendance at the Beijing games in February

TOKYO (AP) — Japan announced Friday it won’t send a delegation of ministers to represent the government at the Beijing Games, but three Olympic officials will attend, a decision that follows a U.S.-led move to diplomatically boycott the Games to protest China’s human rights conditions.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. Japan announced Friday it won’t send a delegation of ministers to represent the government at the Beijing Games but three Olympic officials will attend, a mixed response to a U.S.-led move to boycott the games to protest China’s human rights conditions. (Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP)

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a regular news conference that “we have no plans to send a government delegation.”

He said Tokyo Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japan Paralympic Committee president Kazuyuki Mori will attend.

Matsuno said the three officials will attend at the invitation of the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees to represent the JOC and JPC.

Asked if it’s a diplomatic boycott, Matsuno responded by saying: “We don’t use a particular term to describe how we attend.”

FILE – Yasuhiro Yamashita, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, poses for photographers prior to a press conference Monday, June 28, 2021, in Tokyo, ahead of the opening of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23. Japan announced Friday, Dec. 24, 2021, it won’t send a delegation of ministers to represent the government at the Beijing Games but three Olympic officials will attend, a mixed response to a U.S.-led move to boycott the games to protest China’s human rights conditions. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, Kazuyuki Mori, the president of the Japan Paralympic Committee, and Yamashita will attend. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Japan’s decision not to send a government delegation follows a similar move by the United States and some other democratic nations including Australia, Britain, and Canada, which cited China’s human rights violations.

The Chinese foreign ministry appealed to Tokyo not to politicize sports.

“We hope and urge the Japanese side to honor its commitment with China to supporting each other in hosting the Olympic Games and not politicizing sports,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “China is confident in working with all sides to uphold the Olympic spirit of ‘together’ and present the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games.”

Japan, as both a U.S. ally and with China its biggest trade partner, is in a difficult position and has taken a softer approach than its western partners on human rights situations in China’s Xinjiang region and Hong Kong.

A visitor to the Shougang Park walks past the a sculpture for the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. China on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, threatened to take “firm countermeasures” if the U.S. proceeds with a diplomatic boycott of February’s Beijing Winter Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made human rights a key part of his diplomacy and created a special advisory position to tackle the issue and has said he hopes to make constructive relations with China. He has been repeatedly asked what to do about the Beijing Olympics in recent weeks but only said he was to make a decision comprehensively for Japan’s national interest.

“Japan believes that it is important for China to guarantee the universal values ​​of freedom, respect for basic human rights, and the rule of law, which are universal values ​​in the international community,” Kishida said later Friday.

Japan took those points into consideration and made its own decision, he added.

FILE – The logos for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics are seen during an exhibit at a visitors center at the Winter Olympic venues in Yanqing on the outskirts of Beijing, Feb. 5, 2021. Leading sponsors of the Beijing Winter Olympics should explain publicly why they remain silent about alleged human rights abuses in China with the Games opening there in just under three months, Human Rights Watch said Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 in a statement. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Kishida has faced growing calls from the China hawks within his governing party as well as opposition lawmakers to quickly make a decision to diplomatically boycott the Beijing Games.

China has criticized the United States and other countries for violating political neutrality required in the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

Japanese athletes will take part in the Games, which are scheduled to open on Feb. 4.

“Japan hopes the Beijing Olympics will be held as the festival of peace in the spirit of Olympics and Paralympics,” Matsuno said.


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