Saturday’s Yomiuri led with the disclosure by several GOJ and LDP sources that the Kishida administration is likely to forgo dispatching senior government officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics. According to the daily, Prime Minister Kishida is hoping to visit Washington at an early date and convey to President Biden Tokyo’s intention to align its position on the international sporting event with those of the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Instead of sending a government delegation, the GOJ is mulling dispatching President Hashimoto of the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee to the opening ceremony. The GOJ is reportedly hoping that China will not feel as though it has “lost face” if Hashimoto attends since she is a Diet member. However, the GOJ probably will not dispatch Sports Agency Commissioner Murofushi to the event because he is regarded as a high-ranking government official.
Other papers ran similar stories, with Nikkei claiming that the Kishida administration is likely to decide against sending GOJ officials to the Beijing Olympics to take a coordinated approach with the United States and other Western partners. The dailies noted that in addition to Hashimoto, JOC President Yamashita is likely to participate.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s Nikkei and Sankei spotlighted Kishida’s remarks at the parliament on Friday dismissing speculation that President Biden urged him to join the “diplomatic boycott” of the Games when he attended the virtual Summit for Democracy.