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Abe not to attend PyeongChang Olympic opening ceremony: Japanese daily

Abe not to attend PyeongChang Olympic opening ceremony: Japanese daily

Posted January. 12, 2018 08:07,   

Updated January. 12, 2018 08:28


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided not to attend the opening ceremony for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on February 9, right-wing Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported on Thursday, citing multiple Japanese government sources.

The daily reported that while Tokyo is citing the fact that the Japanese parliament’s budget deliberation coincides with the Olympics, the decision to skip the opening ceremony was apparently affected by the South Korean government’s demand of Tokyo’s new measures regarding the 2015 deal on Japan's wartime sexual slavery. The newspaper also reported that the Japanese government has decided to continue to not respond to Seoul’s call for a resumption of the bilateral currency swap deal that Tokyo halted because of a “comfort woman” statue built in front of the Japanese Consulate General in Busan in December 2016.

However, there are significant calls within the Japanese government for Abe’s visit to South Korea to demand Seoul to abide by the agreement. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to come to the PyeongChang Olympics could affect Abe’s decision. Pence is scheduled to visit Tokyo before arriving at PyeongChang. Therefore, there is a possibility that the Japanese prime minister will reverse his decision.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news briefing on Thursday that Tokyo has yet to make a final decision on Abe’s attendance at the Olympic opening ceremony. Asked if any other senior official will attend the ceremony, Suga said Tokyo is also considering the possibility.

Won-Jae Jang peacechaos@donga.com