Japan on Tuesday welcomed word that China will dispatch its athletes to the Asian Games opening Sunday in Hiroshima, despite a chain of threats against Japan for allowing Taiwanese Deputy Prime Minister Hsu Li-teh to attend the games.
The People's Daily in Beijing on Sunday had warned of "grave consequences to China-Japan relations." But in New York on Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono told his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, that Tokyo would not change its position. Qian called the move "a bad precedent" but said Chinese athletes will participate in the games.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Terusuke Terada said Tuesday that "the fact that Chinese athletes will take part in the Asian Games means that China doesn't have any intention of mixing politics with sports, and that position is appreciated."
China had accused Japan and Taiwan of mixing politics with sports. It was the first time since Tokyo and Beijing established diplomatic relations in 1972 that Japan has openly rebuffed a Chinese demand.