Japan will not send a government delegation to February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, it said on Friday, a move likely to deepen tension with China.
The decision follows a U.S led diplomatic boycott of the Games over concerns about human rights in China, although Japan has avoided explicitly labeling its move as such. Japan, while a partner of the United States, also has strong economic ties to China.
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.
These officials include Seiko Hashimoto, head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, as well as the heads of the domestic Olympic and Paralympic committees.
According to Matsuno
He emphasized that Japan was specifically referencing such problems with China at many stages and that this year’s Tokyo Games indicated that the Olympics and Paralympics were a celebration of peace and sports that motivate the globe.
According to Matsuno, the absence of Japanese officials was not taken under any particular phrase, signifying that the government was not considering the action a boycott.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, proclaimed at a regular press briefing in Beijing that China welcomed the Olympic officials and athletes from Japan.
This year, China did not send a government delegation to the Tokyo Summer Olympics, but will rather send a sports delegation led by the chief of the sports bureau.
Japan has consistently maintained a lighter stance on China’s human rights issues, highlighting the country’s dependency on China not only as a manufacturing powerhouse but also as a market for everything from autos to construction equipment.