Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Live news and results on July 22, 2021


Flags hang over the pool during aquatics training at the Tokyo Aquatics Center ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22 in Tokyo, Japan. Clive Rose/Getty Images

The director of the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony show was sacked on Thursday, shortly after local media reported on anti-Semitic comments made about the Holocaust in 1998.

Comedian Kentaro Kobayashi will be sacked for his past performance that ridiculed the “painful facts of history”, Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement.

“As the opening ceremony draws to a close, we deeply apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused to the people concerned, the citizens of Tokyo and the people of Tokyo,” the statement said.

Although Kobayashi’s comments date back more than two decades, they have recently resurfaced in the Japanese press.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish global human rights group, condemned the remarks on Wednesday.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean and director of global social action, said: “Any association of this man in the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics.”

Kobayashi apologized in a statement, saying his past behavior was “inadequate”.

“As someone who is in the business of entertaining people, it shouldn’t be my job to make people feel unpleasant. I understand that my silly choice of words at the time was a mistake, and I’m sorry,” he said. said.

The organizers did not specify in their statement how Kobayashi would be replaced just a day before the opening ceremony.

Kobayashi is the second official to lose his position this week because of recently made public comments. The composer of the opening and closing ceremonies, Keigo Oyamada, resigned from his position after he had bullied classmates after criticizing him in interviews.

The opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. in Tokyo, but will be reduced compared to previous editions. Organizers said only around 950 VIPs would participate.

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