Tokyo Olympics does crisis control, fires opening ceremony director for Holocaust joke

The Tokyo Olympics has had a tumultuous journey, from getting postponed last year and racking up a bill of US$3 billion to citizens urging the Japanese government to cancel the Olympics. A day before the opening ceremony, the Tokyo Olympics has once again made headlines after it fired the director of the opening ceremony over a Holocaust joke he reportedly made during a 1998 comedy show, the Associated Press said.

Kentaro Kobayashi was reportedly accused of joking about the Holocaust during his 1998 comedy act, including the phrase "Let's play Holocaust", AP added, resulting in criticism on social media. According to organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, the team apologises for "causing troubles and concerns" to several involved parties, the people in Tokyo as well as the rest of Japan. Kobayashi was previously a member of popular comedy duo Rahmens which was known for its comedy series including "The Japanese Tradition".

This incident came after composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music is being used for the opening ceremony, apologised for bullying a classmate when he was a child. According to AP, reports of Oyamada abusing a child with disabilities emerged online and resulted in a backlash on social media. Netizens also reportedly demanded for his resignation.

Oyamada, also known as Cornelius, also apologised in a Twitter statement on 19 July explaining that he was "immature" and hoped to contact the individual he had bullied and apologise. He added that his guilt prevented him from stepping forward previously. According to AP, the segment of his music will not be used during the ceremony.

Earlier this year, the games was hit with two scandals when its creative director Hiroshi Sasaki resigned in March following demeaning comments concerning a reputable female celebrity in Japan. A month prior, Yoshiro Mori stepped down as Tokyo Olympics organising committee president after sexist comments. He reportedly said women "talk too much", AP reported.

Separately, International Olympic Committee executive, John Coates, was accused of mansplaining the Olympics to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. According to Reuters, Coates reportedly ordered Palaszczuk publicly to attend the opening ceremony for the upcoming games. He also explained that there will be an opening and a closing ceremony in the 2032 Olympics, which Brisbane was recently named the host of, and as such, it is crucial for the Australian contingent to understand what is needed in an opening ceremony, Reuters said.

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