Kishida faces increasing pressure following diplomatic boycott

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration faces increasing pressure from Japan and Japan to join the US-led diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party say Japan should follow in the footsteps of the United States, Australia, Britain and Canada by declaring a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

Kishida plans to wait and see how other countries react before making a decision. But calls for firm action against China, which has human rights issues, are growing every day.

The administration is “required to show a political stance and send a message on the human rights situation” in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur region, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Thursday. his faction at a meeting.

“Isn’t this the time to express Japan’s will?” Abe added, urging the government to make a decision early.

Members of the PLD, mostly conservatives, increasingly support the view that Japan declares its refusal to send any diplomatic or other governmental representation to the Beijing Games.

A group of PLD lawmakers, including Shigeharu Aoyama of the House of Councilors, the upper house of parliament, called on the government to join the US-led boycott.

PLD political leader Sanae Takaichi on Wednesday expressed support for Japan’s participation in the boycott.

Opposition lawmakers are also beginning to take a similar point of view.

“Severe measures may become necessary,” Junya Ogawa, leader of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, told a press conference on Thursday.

Japan “should consider a diplomatic boycott,” said Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, the government remains cautious about making a quick decision.

“I will decide the response of the Japanese government at the appropriate time in the light of national interests after thoroughly considering diplomatic and other factors,” Kishida said Thursday at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives, the lower house. .

However, a government official said pressure on Japan to join the boycott could increase after four countries, including the United States, decided to take concerted action on human rights issues.

“It is not good to come too late and become the last” to make a decision, a senior foreign ministry official said.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is expected to attend a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Liverpool, England, from Friday. The Beijing Olympics could become a topic of the meeting.

It is believed that Tokyo will decide whether or not to join the boycott after seeing the decisions made by France, where the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will be held, and Germany.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the Olympics should not be politicized, calling the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games an insignificant symbolic step.

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