Japanese PM Fumio Kishida joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday that he will join the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, adding that he will not attend the Opening Ceremony.
Kishida, who's been prime minister for a little more than a month, did not say whether other Japanese officials and diplomats will join in him protesting the Games over China's human rights record and other issues.
The United States, Britain, Canada and Australia have all said they won't send an official delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympics, as is standard practice for the quadrennial event. The primary reason, they said, is concern over China's human rights practices, particularly those involving the minority Muslim Uyghur population.
"At the moment, I have no plans to attend," Kishida said in Japanese Parliament on Thursday, according to Japan Today.
"It is important to make a judgment by myself at an appropriate time after comprehensively taking into account various issues in consideration of the national interest."
While Japan is a strong ally of the United States, it also has deep economic ties with China as its largest trading partner. Japan also depends on China as a manufacturing hub and is a top customer for vehicles and other products.
Another Chinese neighbor, South Korea, has said it will not join the diplomatic boycott. President Moon Jae-in said this week that attending the Games would maintain a "positive" relationship with China.
Athletes are not part of the diplomatic boycotts and will participate in the Beijing Games, which are scheduled to run from Feb. 4-20.