Olympic organizers fire director of Opening ceremony over Comments on the Holocaust

The Olympic rings are seen at sunset on July 21, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Yuichi Yamazaki | .

On the eve of the Tokyo Games, the organizers fired the director of the opening ceremony over he comments made about the Holocaust, while media reported former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a memorable one advocate for the Tokyo Games, skip the highlight event.

The news and the latest in a series of embarrassments for Tokyo organizers who sparked outrage a home and abroad, and it comes just days later a well known the musician was forced to step down as a composer for the ceremony after old reports of his bullying and abusive behavior emerged.

Abe, who dress in famous way up as the video owner plumber game Super Mario at the Rio Games to represent Japan, played an outsize role in attracting the Olympics to Tokyo.

In a speech in in front of a banquet hall full of Members of the International Olympic Committee in 2013 that the persistent nuclear disaster of Fukushima was “under control” and presented his nation as a “passionate, proud and a strong believer” in the Olympic Games.

At the time, Abe and his supporters hoped the Olympics would parallel the 1964 Tokyo Games, heralding the nation’s awakening decades later. of economic stagnation e also report it recovery from a devastating nuclear and natural disaster in 2011.

Instead, the Games, in delay a year Why of the global pandemic, has faced a series of setbacks, including exit of Yoshiro Mori, the former head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, who he resigned after making sexist comments. That was it soon followed by resignation of Tokyo Olympics creative head Hiroshi Sasaki after him made derogatory comments about a popular Japanese entertainer.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee said Kentaro Kobayashi, who is listed as a show director for the opening of the Games event, he was fired after joking him made about the Holocaust as a part of his comic act in 1998 resurfaced in domestic media.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, had in previously issued a statement condemning Kobayashi’s past behavior.

“Any association of this person at the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six millions of Jews and take a cruel grip in round of the Paralympics, ”said Abraham Cooper, associate rabbi and dean global social action director of the center.

submissive affair

The Opening ceremony on Friday, which normally stands as an important showcase of the host nation, is set be a submissive affair, with Japanese media reporting that less than 950 people – of which only about 15 global leader – they are set take part.

First Lady Jill Biden should land in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon for the opening ceremony of the Games, raising expectations it might also use his presence to discuss vaccines with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Biden traveled across the United States touting more people in the country to be vaccinated.

Only a third of The Japanese have had at least one dose of the vaccine, the refueling public fears that the Olympics may become a super-splitter event. Dozens already of the participants tested positive for Covid-19, forcing athletes and teammates to withdraw isolation.

NHK said Abe has made up his mind against participating in the ceremony after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency and virus restrictions over Tokyo, in an effort to minimize health risks for residents and visitors. by Abe office it was not possible to reach immediately on Thursday, a public holiday in Japan.

Infections from Covid-19 have increased in the capital and it is expected that spike also, putting a strain on healthcare workers.

In a recent survey in Asahi newspaper, 68% of respondents expressed doubts about the ability of Olympic organizers to control coronavirus infections, with 55% said they were against the Games in course.

Olympic Games competition has already started, with the Japanese women is softball team get the hosts off to a win start on Wednesday, while the highly ranked US women is football team they were shocked by Sweden.

The second day of softball started early Thursday under cloudy skies in Fukushima with the United States defeats Canada for a run go 2-0 in the ranking. Japan take on Mexico later.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the United States broadcast rights holder at all Summer and Winter Games until 2032.

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