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International relations

US and Japan haven't discussed Beijing Olympics boycott: Tokyo

International community must work together to engage China, cabinet spokesman says

Athletes take part in a curling competition held as a test event for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing on April 1.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan has not discussed with the U.S. the possibility of boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters on Wednesday, amid speculation that Washington looks to lead allies in this direction.

Kato, the Japanese government's top spokesperson, did not say whether the topic would be on the agenda for a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and President Joe Biden slated for April 16.

Kato's comments come after U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday that a boycott of the Winter games over China's alleged human rights abuses against its Uyghur minority "is something that we certainly wish to discuss" with other countries.

"Japan has serious concerns" about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, Kato said. "It is important for the international community to work closely together to engage China."

"The U.S. and Japan are on the same page in terms of our basic thinking," he added.

In a tweet following Tuesday's briefing, Price said: "2022 remains a ways off, but we will continue to consult closely with allies and partners to define our common concerns and establish our shared approach" to China.

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