The Saturday editions of all national dailies wrote that in response to President Biden’s remarks to the press on Thursday that he is considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Prime Minister Kishida told reporters on Friday that each nation has its own thoughts and Japan will discuss the issue from its own standpoint. Yomiuri wrote that an unnamed senior MOFA official expressed a cautious view about the idea of a political boycott by saying Japan’s diplomacy is based on dialogue and cooperation. Another MOFA official reportedly said the idea of a diplomatic boycott has never been discussed between the United States and Japan, speculating that the President may have mentioned it as a way to send a warning to China. Sankei wrote that Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters on Friday that Japan has not yet made a decision on the matter. Foreign Minister Hayashi said he did not discuss the Olympics with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during their teleconference on Thursday.
Sunday’s Nikkei wrote that the issue of an Olympic boycott is becoming a diplomatic concern for the Kishida administration because calls on Japan to act in concert with the United States and European nations may grow at home and abroad. The paper wrote that attention is likely to be focused on how Tokyo will deal with the Beijing Olympics because Tokyo’s options for condemning Beijing’s violations of human rights are limited on account of Japan’s lack of legislation like the U.S. Magnitsky Act to sanction foreign government officials accused of human rights violations.
In an interview with Nikkei, Senator William Hagerty, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan under the Trump administration, urged Japan to implement a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, citing China’s human rights violations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Chinese government’s concealment of information in the early days of COVID-19.