Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony director fired over past comments on Holocaust

TTokyo's first Olympic test event of 2021, an artistic swimming competition scheduled for March, was postponed on Thursday for two months because of travel restrictions. /GettyImages

Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games, has been dismissed from his role after his past comments on the Holocaust resurfaced online.

The move was made by Tokyo 2020 organizers just one day ahead of the Games opening ceremony scheduled for Friday night.

Kobayashi was found to have made a joke about the Holocaust in a comedy skit in 1998.

“We deeply apologize for any inconvenience brought to relevant stakeholders, Tokyo and Japanese people, as this incident took place prior to the opening ceremony,” read a statement from Tokyo Games organizers.

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

Earlier this week, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews. The segment of his music will not be used.


Story compiled with assistance from wire reports

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