Japan will not send a government delegation to the Beijing Olympics

TOKYO (AP) – Japan said on Friday it would not send a delegation of ministers to represent the government at the Beijing Games, but that three Olympic officials will attend, a move following a decision by the United States to diplomatically boycott the Games in protest against China’s humanity. conditions of rights.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular press conference that “we do not intend to send a government delegation.”

He said Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee Chairman Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee Chairman Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japanese Paralympic Committee Chairman Kazuyuki Mori will attend.

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

When asked if this was a diplomatic boycott, Matsuno replied, “We don’t use a specific term to describe the way we participate.

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

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called on Tokyo not to politicize the sport.

“We hope and urge the Japanese side to honor its commitment with China to support each other in hosting the Olympic Games and not to politicize the sport,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “China is confident to work with all parties to uphold the Olympic spirit of ‘together’ and present to the world a streamlined, safe and beautiful Olympic Games.”

Japan, as an ally of the United States and with China its largest trading partner, is in a difficult position and has taken a softer approach than its Western partners on the human rights situation in the region. Chinese Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Japan hopes that the Beijing Olympics will be held as a celebration of peace in the spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Matsuno said.


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