Japan declines to join US, others in condemning China over Hong Kong law

Japan decided not to be a signatory to the countries' joint statement on the proposed law as Tokyo tries to improve its diplomatic relations with China.
Japan decided not to be a signatory to the countries' joint statement on the proposed law as Tokyo tries to improve its diplomatic relations with China.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Japan will not join the United States, Britain and others in issuing a statement scolding China for imposing a new security law, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday (June 7), citing officials from countries involved. 

Britain, the US, Australia and Canada condemned China on May 28 for imposing a law that they said would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony. There was no immediate response to e-mail inquiries to Japan’s foreign ministry and the US embassy in Tokyo. 

Tokyo separately issued a statement on May 28, the day China’s parliament approved the national security legislation, saying the nation was “seriously concerned” about the move, which observers fear could endanger Hong Kong’s special autonomy and freedoms. 

Tokyo is in complicated position amid tension between China and the US over the Hong Kong issue as Japan plans Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit, which was planned for early April but has been postponed because both have agreed to priorities to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Japanese government wants to avoid creating friction with China ahead of Mr Xi's visit, but its reluctance to criticise Beijing could disappoint the US and European countries, Kyodo said.