Director of Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony ousted over past comments on Holocaust

WION Web Team
TOKYO Updated: Jul 22, 2021, 01:27 PM(IST)

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

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Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - Kobayashi made light of the mass murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis in a script for his comedy act in 1998, including saying, “Let’s play Holocaust.”

The Tokyo Organising Committee stated Thursday that Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the Olympics opening ceremony, has been removed from his position following news reports concerning his past statements about the Holocaust.

According to Japanese media sites, in a screenplay for his comedy performance in 1998, Kobayashi made light of the Nazis' mass murder of 6 million Jews, stating, "Let's play Holocaust." 

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Kobayashi's remarks drew immediate condemnation, especially from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which criticised what it called anti-Semitic humour by the comedian. 

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Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto told a briefing that Kentaro Kobayashi had been dismissed because of past comments that made fun of a tragedy.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, COVID-19 infections in Tokyo reached a six-month high, with 1,832 new cases reported just two days before the Games began.

Tokyo is currently in its fourth state of emergency, which will remain until August 22 and will span the entirety of the Olympics, which begin on Friday and end on August 8. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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