Japanese Prime Minister Kishida says he has no plans to attend Beijing Olympics


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left) drinks water during a session of the House of Councilors budget committee in Tokyo on December 16, 2021. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday he had no plans to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, while suggesting he was still considering various options regarding the diplomatic boycott of the games led by the United States.

“At the moment, I have no plans to attend,” Kishida told parliament when asked if he would travel to China for the February games by Shinkun Haku, a lawmaker in the main. opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

But Kishida went on to say, “It is important to pass judgment on my own at an appropriate time after comprehensively considering various issues in consideration of the national interest.”

Later Thursday, China lambasted Japan, saying any attempt to politicize the sport was against the spirit of the Olympic Charter.

“China is confident to host a simple, safe and exciting Olympic event” in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

Kishida’s remarks at the House of Advisors’ budget committee meeting came after the United States announced it was not sending officials to the games as criticism escalated over China’s record in human rights.

So far, the diplomatic boycott has been joined by countries like Australia, Britain and Canada, while France said last week it would not boycott in breach of other industrialized countries in the world. Group of Seven. Paris is expected to host the Summer Games in 2024.

In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday expressed his willingness to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (standing) speaks during a session of the House of Councilors Budget Committee in Tokyo on December 16, 2021. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Japan, a close ally of the United States that depends heavily on China economically, is considering not sending cabinet ministers to the Beijing Olympics.

Various options are being considered, including sending Seiko Hashimoto, Member of the Upper House and Chair of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, or Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita, according to government and government sources. ruling party.

During the same parliamentary session, Kishida called for a third-party investigation into the government’s overestimation of data on construction orders that lasted about eight years, a practice that may have led to an error in the calculation of construction orders. gross domestic product figures of the country.

It was revealed that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism had since 2013 double-counted some data it received from companies when compiling its monthly construction order figures.

Kishida said members of the investigative panel included a former prosecutor and lawyer as well as a statistics specialist. The panel will compile its findings within one month.

Ministry officials continued to revise order data from January 2020 to March this year, even after Japan’s Audit Council told the ministry that this was inappropriate practice.

Lands Minister Tetsuo Saito defended the move, saying it aimed to ensure “the continuity of existing statistical practice and that it was statistically significant.”

Economic Revitalization Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa said the completed data was not directly used to calculate GDP and he expects its impact to be minor even though it has had some influence on figures.

Regarding the government’s decision to pay damages to the wife of a former finance ministry bureaucrat who alleges her husband committed suicide after being ordered to falsify documents relating to allegations of patronage against former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kishida said the government “has done everything it can” in response. scandalous.

In June of this year, the government disclosed a file suggesting that a former senior ministry official had tasked a local finance office to amend documents.

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