Tokyo, Oct. 23 (Jiji Press)–Conservative members of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party are cautious about the possibility that Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will attend the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
Lawmakers in the United States and Europe are calling on their governments not to send leaders and ministers to Beijing for the Olympics due to China’s human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
If U.S. and European governments meet such requests, Japan may be forced to follow suit. This means that Kishida will be left in a tough situation if he is invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the Olympics.
For this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, French President Emmanuel Macron and other foreign officials visited Japan and met with then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. China sent Gou Zhongwen, director of the General Administration of Sport, to Tokyo.
It is unclear whether China will invite foreign leaders to attend the Beijing Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A conservative LDP lawmaker said the Japanese government should take a tough approach on China.
“China has continued to send coast guard ships into Japanese waters off the Senkaku Islands while not recognizing its human rights violations against Uighurs,” the lawmaker said.
A mid-ranking LDP member took a cautious stance about sending a Japanese leader to Beijing for the Olympics.
“Japan should send the sports minister as China sent a cabinet-level official to the Tokyo Games,” the LDP member said.
But Kishida last month said his decision will not be influenced by the moves of U.S. and European governments.
“Japan is in a geopolitical situation different from the United States and Europe. We have to make decisions on our own,” Kishida said in his campaigning for the LDP leadership in September.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. A state visit to Japan by Xi, initially scheduled for the spring of 2020, has been postponed due to the pandemic.