Japan joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 alongside US, UK and Canada

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  • Hirokazu Matsuno
    Japanese politician
Hirokazu Matsuno speaking at news conference  (AP)
Hirokazu Matsuno speaking at news conference (AP)

Japan has joined the list of countries not sending a government delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

The move comes after the United States declined to send any of its diplomats to the games, citing human rights abuses.

The UK announced earlier this month that it also would not be sending diplomats.

Tokyo will not send a government delegation to the 2022 Winter Games, but will instead send some officials with direct ties to the Olympics, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news briefing.

“Japan believes that it’s important for China to ensure freedom, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law, which are universal values of the international community," he said.

However, the government has declined to call the move a “boycott” and Matsuno said the government had made the decision “on its own”.

China said it welcomed the fact that athletes and some Olympic officials from Japan would still be attending the games.

China did not send a government delegation to the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year, but only a sports delegation, led by the sports bureau chief.

The United States said it would diplomatically boycott the Winter Olympics over human rights “atrocities”.

China has been accused of systematic human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, which the Communist Party regime continues to deny.

After the US decision was announced, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters the country would take “resolute counter measures”.

Without elaborating, he said: "The United States will pay a price for its mistaken acts. Let’s all wait and see."

Boris Johnson said earlier this month senior UK government officials would also side-step the event over human rights concerns. A similar statement was made by Canada’s premier, Justin Trudeau.

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