Director opening ceremony day before Games fired



A day before the opening of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Japanese organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony. Comedian and actor Kentaro Kobayashi was supposed to direct the event on Friday but was discredited over jokes he had made about the Holocaust in the past. Kobayashi would also provide the opening of the Paralympic Games.

It is therefore not yet clear what the opening ceremony will look like, said the chairman of the organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto. According to Hashimoto, Kobayashi has to leave because he joked about the persecution of the Jews in World War II during a comedy show.

It would be statements that Kobayashi already made in 1998, but that recently resurfaced in national media.

“No one has the right to ridicule the victims of this genocide. Any association of this person with the Tokyo Olympics is an insult to the memory of six million Jews,” said a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization.

Other opening

At the previous 2016 Games in Rio, 12,600 athletes and officials marched into the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony; in Tokyo that number will be considerably lower.

Not only do many athletes only arrive in Tokyo after the opening due to corona, but the express rule to keep as much distance from each other as possible will also lead to far fewer athletes participating in the flag parade.

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