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Beijing Olympics: Japan will not send ministerial officials

LJapan will not send ministerial officials to the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, the Japanese government announced on Friday, December 24, after diplomatic boycotts decided by several Western countries, including the United States, in connection with human rights. of man in China. Japanese government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno avoided calling the decision a boycott, but said Japan “has no plans to send government officials” to the Winter Olympics in China.

“Japan believes that it is important that the common values ​​shared by the international community, such as freedom, human rights and the rule of law, are also respected in China,” he said. . The president of the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Seiko Hashimoto, will however go there, as well as the president of the Japanese Olympic committee Yasuhiro Yamashita, said the spokesperson for the Japanese government.

Seiko Hashimoto will go to Beijing “to express gratitude and respect to the athletes and others who supported the Tokyo Games” held last summer, he added. Japan made this decision after “careful consideration” of the matter. It came after the US, UK, Australia and Canada this month announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games (February 4-20, 2022) to denounce abuses human rights in China.

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China evokes reprisals against protesting countries

For its part, China has warned these four Western countries, which will send athletes to the Games but not official officials, that they would pay “the price for their bad move”, without specifying what reprisals were being considered. On Friday, the spokesperson in Tokyo stressed that “the Japanese government did not think of using a particular expression concerning the presence of Japan” at the Winter Olympics in China. And he noted that the announcement by the US government does not include the expression “diplomatic boycott”.

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Japan, host of the Tokyo 2020 Games postponed for a year due to the coronavirus, finds itself in a delicate diplomatic position between the United States and China, two major trading partners, and had so far not had makes its position known. South Korea, another ally of the United States, for its part announced early last week that it would not diplomatically boycott the Games, citing the need to continue to cooperate with China.

Russia considers the “diplomatic boycott” as an attempt to politicize the Olympics and has confirmed that President Vladimir Poutine will go to the Beijing Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has meanwhile invoked its “neutrality” on the issue, refusing to comment on “purely political decisions” and especially welcoming the absence of a sports boycott.

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The United States denounces “a genocide” against the Uighurs

According to human rights organizations, at least one million Uighurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities, mainly Muslims, are being held in camps in Xinjiang. China is accused of forcibly sterilizing women there and imposing forced labor. The United States denounces “genocide” on this subject. Beijing says the camps are in fact “vocational training centers” to fight radicalization.

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China regularly accuses the United States of using the issue of human rights to thwart its economic development and challenge its growing place in international affairs. Beijing also castigated the G7 and the European Union, which on Monday expressed their “deep concern” after “the erosion” of democracy observed in Hong Kong last weekend during the local legislative elections.

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