Japan: HK electoral changes cannot be overlooked

Japan's Foreign Ministry says the country cannot overlook China's latest changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, calling them "a major setback" for the high degree of the territory's autonomy.

Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Yoshida Tomoyuki issued a statement after China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved amendments to Hong Kong's Basic Law on Tuesday.

The changes call for candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive and legislative council to be screened by a police security department. The police are to report the results to a vetting committee, which will decide whether they can run in the election.

Yoshida said the changes will further undermine the confidence in the "One Country, Two Systems" framework. He added that they also go against the ultimate aim of the Hong Kong Basic law to have the chief executive and all members of the legislative council elected by universal suffrage.

The statement said, "Japan calls on China to hold relevant elections in Hong Kong in a fair manner that are open to candidates representing a wide range of political opinions." It added that Japan "will continue to cooperate with the international community in urging China to take concrete actions."