Below are the questions and answers from Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s interview. The interview was conducted by Takeda Sawako of Yomiuri’s International Division.
Question: What was the significance of holding the Tokyo Olympics?
Amb. Thomas-Greenfield: I am aware that there were various opinions on holding the Olympics when the COVID-19 pandemic had not been brought under control. Japan achieved a great success by overcoming adversity. I believe this was a symbol of the Japanese people’s resilience.
Question: What was the reaction of the participants, including the athletes?
Amb. Thomas-Greenfield: The athletes adapted to the situation and demonstrated their strength, focusing on competition and victory, as in the past Olympics. I felt the excitement and energy. Athletes from Afghanistan and Syria, as well as South Sudan refugee athletes, participated in these Games. Since I spent almost my entire career on humanitarian issues, I was deeply moved to meet them.
Question: How should we move forward toward the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022?
Amb. Thomas-Greenfield: I do not hesitate to express concern for China’s various human rights issues, such as the forced labor of the Uyghurs, the suppression of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and Taiwan. China completely understands the concerns of the global community. China needs to decide by itself how to address these issues.
Question: What will the U.S. say at next year’s UN General Assembly meeting?
Amb. Thomas-Greenfield: President Biden will send a clear message that the U.S. has returned to the diplomatic stage and will be involved in global affairs. We want U.S. leadership to be acknowledged and the U.S.’s voice be heard.