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Last News Olympics opening ceremony director sacked for Holocaust joke

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The show director for the opening ceremony of the Olympics was sacked a day before the event took place.

Images of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s have recently emerged in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust.

Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed “painful facts in history.”

The layoff is the latest in a series of scandals to hit the Games.

Since the start of the year, three other organizers have been forced to withdraw from Tokyo 2020 – and the games have already been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • And in February, Yoshiro Mori was forced to step down as head of the organizing committee after making remarks about the women who were criticized as “inappropriate.” Mr Mori is said to have said that the women talk too much and that meetings with many women directors “would take a long time”.

The latest scandal has seen former comedian Mr. Kobayashi heavily criticized for a skit he performed 23 years ago, in which he and another comedian claim to be children’s artists.

In the sketch, Mr. Kobayashi turns to his colleague, referring to some paper dolls, saying they are “from the time when you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust’,” according to the news agency. AFP.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the comments “scandalous and unacceptable”.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the US-based Holocaust research organization, Simon Wiesenthal Center, said: “Everyone, no matter how creative, has no right to be. mock the victims of the Nazi genocide.

Mr. Kobayashi himself issued a statement in response to his dismissal.

“Entertainment shouldn’t make people uncomfortable. I understand my stupid choice of words back then was bad, and I regret it,” he said.

Olympics chief Seiko Hashimoto said he was unaware of the sketch prior to Mr. Kobayashi’s appointment and apologized for “causing concern to those involved in the Olympics, the citizens of Tokyo and the Japanese public “.

Despite the last-minute change of leadership, the Japanese prime minister said the event should go ahead as planned – kicking off two weeks of competitive events.

But since Mr. Kobayashi’s impeachment, organizers are reassessing plans for the ceremony.

To minimize the risk of a Covid outbreak, the event will already be a relatively moderate affair, with only 950 people in attendance. Spectators were also excluded from most Olympic events.

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic committee admitted this week that he had not ruled out a cancellation, even at this late stage.

Despite concerns, the first events are underway – opening Wednesday with a softball game between Japan and Mexico

The growing scandals have done little to stop the unease about the Games. A recent poll found that about 55% of Japanese people were opposed to holding the Games, fearing they would become a coronavirus super-spread event, Reuters news agency reported.

Organizers are also facing the rising number of Covid cases across Japan – a country where only a third of the population has been vaccinated.

Dozens of people involved in the Games – including officials and athletes – have tested positive and a state of emergency has been declared for the duration of the sporting event.

However, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday congratulated organizers for “doing your best” so far, telling them that a “zero risk” Games was not Not possible.

“The mark of success in the coming fortnight is not zero cases,” he added. “The hallmark of success is ensuring that all cases are identified, isolated, located and taken care of as quickly as possible.”

The first events of Tokyo 2020 have already started, with the Japanese hosts winning their softball game on Wednesday.

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