Opening ceremony director fired over Holocaust joke on Olympics eve
On the eve of the Tokyo Games, organisers fired the director of the opening ceremony over comments he made about the Holocaust, while media reported former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a memorable advocate for the Tokyo Games, would skip the showpiece event.
The news is the latest in a series of embarrassments for Tokyo organisers that have sparked outrage at home and abroad, and comes just days after a well known musician was forced to step down as composer for the ceremony after old reports of his bullying and abusive behaviour surfaced.
In a speech in front a banquet room full of International Olympic Committee members in 2013 that the lingering nuclear disaster at Fukushima was “under control” and pitched his nation as a “passionate, proud, and a strong believer” in the Olympics.
At the time, Abe and his supporters hoped the Olympics would parallel the 1964 Tokyo Games heralding the nation’s revival after decades of economic stagnation and also mark its recovery from a devastating nuclear and natural disaster in 2011.
Instead, the Games, delayed a year because of the global pandemic, has faced a series of setbacks, including the exit of Yoshiro Mori, the former head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, who resigned after making sexist remarks. That was soon followed by the resignation of Tokyo Olympics creative head Hiroshi Sasaki after he made derogatory comments about a popular Japanese female entertainer.
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee said Kentaro Kobayashi, who is listed as a show director for the Games’ opening event, was fired after a joke he made about the Holocaust as part of his comedy act in 1998 resurfaced in domestic media.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organisation, had earlier released a statement condemning Kobayashi’s past behaviour…..read more