Japan prime minister planning to stay away from Beijing Olympics
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had no plans to personally attend the Beijing Olympics, as his government remains non-committal in public about joining the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the games.
Kishida told a parliamentary committee Thursday, in response to a question from an opposition lawmaker, that Japan would make a decision on its official representation at an appropriate time, based on its national interests. The choice has been particularly difficult for Tokyo, which relies on its sole military ally the U.S. for security and lists China as its top trading partner.
The diplomatic boycott announced by the Biden administration last week has driven a wedge between the U.S. and some of its allies, with Beijing warning that countries taking part would “pay a price for their wrong moves.”
Australia, Canada and the U.K. are joining the protest against alleged human rights abuses by China. All the countries taking part in the diplomatic boycott will allow their athletes to compete.
Kishida’s government has looked at sending a lower-level delegation, perhaps dispatching Seiko Hashimoto, a ruling party lawmaker who was president of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, Kyodo News reported Thursday.
France and South Korea will not be following the Biden administration. France hosts the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 and President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC last week that moves such as a diplomatic boycott would be merely symbolic.
President Moon Jae-in said this week South Korea won’t be joining the U.S., citing a need for China’s help in denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. China plays a crucial role as the largest trading partner for Seoul and the main benefactor for Pyongyang.
China welcomed Moon’s move as being in the spirit of friendship.