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Japan perplexed by China’s offer to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Olympic athletes

Saturday’s Mainichi and Sankei reported that Japanese officials were bewildered by International Olympic Committee President Bach’s unexpected announcement on Thursday that he had received an offer from China to provide Chinese coronavirus vaccines to any participant in the Tokyo Olympics. Mainichi noted that the proposal was made as part of Beijing’s “vaccine diplomacy,” speculating that it was intended to deflect the international community’s criticism of its human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Sankei conjectured that the offer was meant to prevent calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics from growing. The paper said Japan has no intention to accept the offer and noted that Olympic Minister Marukawa underscored that foreign athletes will be able to participate in the Tokyo games without being vaccinated because thorough prevention measures will be implemented.

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