Tokyo, Dec 24 (EFE).- Japan will not send any government official to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, but sports representatives and athletes will attend the event, the government said Friday.
“We are not going to send government representatives,” government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
Matsuno said Tokyo Olympics Chief Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, and Japan Paralympic Chief Kazuyuki Mori would attend the event.
He stopped short of calling it a diplomatic “boycott” and said the government “does not have a special term” to describe the move.
The spokesperson said the decision was not influenced by other countries, even as Japan has joined the growing list of countries, including the United States, Australia, Britain, and Canada, that have announced the diplomatic boycott of games over China’s human rights records.
“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.”
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had already announced that he had no plans to travel to attend the inauguration of the mega sporting event.
The decision was announced by the spokesperson rather than Kishida himself.
Quoting unnamed sources, Kyodo said Kishida might have done that not to provoke the Chinese leadership, especially since the two countries are set to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2022. EFE