All national dailies reported extensively on the Biden administration’s announcement on Monday that the United States will not send any diplomatic or official representatives to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics given China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” Prime Minister Kishida told the press in response to the move: “I am aware that the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. I will decide on Japan’s response based on our national interest by taking into consideration the significance of the Olympics as well as our foreign policy.”
Nikkei wrote that it remains to be seen how many countries will follow Washington’s lead and that the GOJ plans to wait and see how other countries react to the U.S. decision before making a move. The paper speculated that although a decision to act in concert with the United States would send a warning to China on its provocative actions around the Senkaku Islands, Japan needs to keep a close eye on the development of the boycott issue by observing how Beijing reacts to Washington’s decision and the extent to which a diplomatic boycott would affect the Japanese economy, including businesses operating in China. At a meeting on Tuesday with a group of LDP lawmakers calling on the GOJ to implement a diplomatic boycott, Kishida said he will make a decision that will serve Japan’s national interests.
The other national dailies expressed similar views, with Mainichi pointing out that Japan and China will mark the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic normalization next year. Asahi wrote that the U.S. decision weighs heavily on Japan as it could be criticized for adopting a double standard if it gives consideration to China while stressing the importance of human rights issues by appointing a special advisor to the Prime Minister on human rights. Mainichi, Yomiuri, and Sankei added that the GOJ is considering sending non-cabinet officials, such as Sports Agency Commissioner Murofushi Koji and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, to the Beijing Games.