Japanese companies face dilemma over Beijing Winter Games

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Japanese businesses face a dilemma over the upcoming Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, overshadowed by a wave of diplomatic boycotts and the coronavirus pandemic.

The public is increasingly aware of corporate commitment to human rights after the United States and some other countries decided not to send government officials to the Games to protest alleged human rights violations by the United States. China.

This made it risky for companies to actively deploy marketing campaigns related to the Winter Games. The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics is scheduled for February 4.

Since the time difference between Japan and Beijing is only an hour, the Japanese don’t have to worry much about when they watch the Games. This would create an ideal opportunity for Japanese companies to profit from the Games under normal circumstances.

However, due to the global spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, only spectators from mainland China will be admitted to the Games.

“Our company got ready for the Games, but emotionally the momentum didn’t gain as much,” as the Tokyo Olympics ended just five months ago, a source said.

“There won’t be a tour from Japan to watch the Games. Demand for replacement televisions will also be limited, ”said Toshihiro Nagahama, economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute Inc.

The Winter Games can boost sales of certain sports equipment and visitors to ski resorts, depending on the performance of Japanese athletes.

But a company official said given the conflict between China and the United States, the situation is very sensitive, making it difficult for the company to move.

Countries that have declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games allege human rights violations committed by China in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and in Hong Kong.

In this context, companies are facing greater pressure to tackle the problem. They need to explain to investors and consumers if there is no forced labor or child labor in their supply chains.

China is a huge market. Many Japanese companies have production bases there.

Japanese companies “will have to reconsider their transactions (in China) if human rights issues are discovered,” said Kengo Sakurada, president of the Japan Association of Business Executives, or Keizai Doyukai.

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