Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fires opening ceremony director for Holocaust joke

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TOKYO -- The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the manager of the opening ceremonial connected Thursday due to the fact that of a Holocaust gag helium made during a drama amusement successful 1998.

Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a time up of the opening ceremonial that manager Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of utilizing a gag astir the Holocaust successful his drama act, including the operation "Let's play Holocaust."

"We recovered retired that Mr. Kobayashi, successful his ain performance, has utilized a operation ridiculing a humanities tragedy," Hashimoto said. "We profoundly apologize for causing specified a improvement the time earlier the opening ceremonial and for causing troubles and concerns to galore progressive parties arsenic good arsenic the radical successful Tokyo and the remainder of the country."

Tokyo has been plagued with scandals since being awarded the Games successful 2013. French investigators are looking into alleged bribes paid to International Olympic Committee members to power the ballot for Tokyo. The fallout forced the resignation 2 years agone of Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the Japanese Olympic Committee and was an IOC member.

The opening ceremonial of the pandemic-delayed Games is scheduled for Friday. The ceremonial volition beryllium held without spectators arsenic a measurement to forestall the dispersed of coronavirus infections, though immoderate officials, guests and media volition attend.

"We are going to person the opening ceremonial time and, yes, I americium definite determination are a batch of radical who are not feeling casual astir the opening of the Games," Hashimoto said. "But we are going to unfastened the Games time nether this hard situation."

Earlier this week, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose euphony was to beryllium utilized astatine the ceremony, was forced to resign due to the fact that of past bullying of his classmates, which helium boasted astir successful mag interviews. The conception of his euphony volition not beryllium used.

Soon aft a video clip and publication of Kobayashi's show were revealed, disapproval flooded societal media.

"Any person, nary substance however creative, does not person the close to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, subordinate dean and planetary societal enactment manager of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based quality rights group.

He besides noted that the Nazis gassed Germans with disabilities.

"Any relation of this idiosyncratic to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the representation of 6 cardinal Jews and marque a cruel mockery of the Paralympics," helium said.

Kobayashi is simply a erstwhile subordinate of a fashionable drama duo Rahmens and known overseas for drama bid including "The Japanese Tradition."

Japan is pushing up with the Olympics against the proposal of astir of its aesculapian experts. This is partially owed to unit from the IOC, which is estimated to look losses of $3 cardinal to $4 cardinal successful tv rights income if the Games were not held.

The authoritative outgo of the Olympics is $15.4 billion, but authorities audits suggest it's overmuch more. All but $6.7 cardinal is nationalist money.

"We person been preparing for the past twelvemonth to nonstop a affirmative message," Hashimoto said. "Toward the precise extremity present determination are truthful galore incidents that springiness a antagonistic representation toward Tokyo 2020."

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, besides acknowledged the reputational damage.

"Maybe these antagonistic incidents volition interaction the affirmative connection we wanted to present to the world," helium said.

The last-minute scandals travel arsenic Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's authorities faces disapproval for prioritizing the Olympics contempt public wellness concerns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Koichi Nakano, who thatch authorities astatine Sophia University, wrote connected Twitter that the opening ceremonial chaos underscores a deficiency of consciousness successful Japan astir diversity.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she learned of Koyayashi's comments from Hashimoto.

"I was astonished," she said.

Kobayashi's Holocaust gag and Oyamada's resignation were the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned arsenic organizing committee president implicit sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki besides stepped down arsenic originative manager for the opening and closing ceremonies aft suggesting a Japanese histrion should formal arsenic a pig.

Also this week, the chiropractor for the American women's wrestling squad apologized aft comparing Olympic COVID-19 protocols to Nazi Germany successful a societal media post. Rosie Gallegos-Main, the team's chiropractor since 2009, volition beryllium allowed to decorativeness her planned enactment astatine USA Wrestling's pre-Olympic campy successful Nakatsugawa, Japan.

AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade contributed to this report.

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