Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japan latest to join Beijing Olympics boycott

Japan latest to join Beijing Olympics boycott

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chinese and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics flags flutter at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games village on Friday. AFP

Japan latest to join Beijing Olympics boycott

Japan said on December 24 it will not send government representatives to February’s Beijing Olympics as it called on China to respect human rights and the rule of law.

Government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno did not describe the move as a diplomatic boycott – already announced by the US and others – but said there were “no plans” for officials to attend the Games.

“Japan believes it is important that common values shared by the international community such as freedom, human rights, and the rule of law are also respected in China,” he said.

“As Tokyo 2020 demonstrated to the world, the Olympics and the Paralympics are festivals of peace and sports that give courage to the world.”

The US, Britain, Australia and Canada this month announced diplomatic boycotts of the Games over what they consider to be widespread rights abuses by China, including against the Muslim Uighur minority.

Their boycott stops short of not sending athletes to the Winter Games, which start on February 4.

But Beijing has warned the four nations will “pay the price” for the US-led campaign.

Japan, which hosted the virus-postponed Tokyo Olympics this year, is in a tricky position as tensions simmer between the US and China – both key trade partners.

Matsuno said Friday’s decision had been made after “comprehensive” consideration, noting that Japan has held discussions with the Chinese side on human rights issues “at various levels”.

Respect to the athletes

Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto and Japanese Olympic Committee head Yasuhiro Yamashita will attend the event in the Chinese capital.

“Hashimoto will attend to express gratitude and respect to the athletes and others who supported the Tokyo Games,” Matsuno said.

Japan Paralympic Committee chief Kazuyuki Mori will attend the Winter Paralympics in March, he added.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the country “welcomes the Japanese Olympic Committee and other relevant officials, as well as Japanese athletes”, but also sounded a note of caution over the decision.

“China . . . urges the Japanese side to honour promises to support each other in hosting the Olympic Games and to not politicise sports,” he said.

Washington has said its diplomatic boycott decision was prompted by rights abuses such as what it has called the “genocide” of the Uighur minority.

Not all US allies have followed suit, however. The previous week, South Korea ruled out joining the boycott, citing the need to work with China.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also set to attend the Games, as are senior French officials.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said this month he was staying politically neutral on the matter, insisting the important point was “the participation of the athletes”.

Foreign fans will be banned at the Winter Games under virus rules and the event will take place after several crackdowns – including in Hong Kong – designed to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s power.

Campaigners say at least one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in “re-education camps” in the far western Xinjiang region.

Beijing has defended the camps as vocational training centres aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement