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Tokyo 2020 organizers fired the director of the opening ceremony on the eve of the tournament over his previous statements about the Holocaust.
Other media outlets said former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would not attend Friday’s ceremony.
The concert director’s resignation is the latest in a series of embarrassing cases for Olympic organizers, following previous media reports of his harassment and aggressive behaviour.
Abe played a key role in Tokyo’s winning bid to host the Games, promising members of the International Olympic Committee in 2013 that the Fukushima nuclear disaster was “under control” and describing his country as “enthusiastic, proud and believing” in the Olympics.
At the time, Abe and his supporters hoped that the Olympics would follow suit on the version hosted by Japan in 1964 and herald the country’s resurgence after decades of economic stagnation and recovery from the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Instead, the Olympics, which were postponed due to the Corona virus pandemic, took several blows, including the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, the former head of the organizing committee, and then Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director.
The organizing committee said the resignation of the opening ceremony director, Kentaro Kobayashi, was due to his satire on the Holocaust while working on comedy in 1998, which reappeared in local media.
And the media indicated that fewer than 950 people will attend the opening ceremony, including 15 world leaders.
The organizing committee has decided to hold the tournament without fans due to the increase in the number of people infected with the Corona virus.
Jill Biden, the wife of the US president, is expected to arrive in Tokyo today, Thursday, to attend the opening ceremony and possibly negotiations with Suga for Japan to obtain a vaccine against the Corona virus.
And local media reported that Suga is preparing to negotiate with Pfizer to obtain early doses.
A third of the population in Japan has received at least one dose, raising fears about the Olympics and the virus outbreak.
Several athletes and officials have already contracted the virus.
Local television channel NHK said Abe had decided not to attend the opening ceremony after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency and restrictions in Tokyo.
The Olympic competitions started on Wednesday, with the Japanese women’s softball team starting the tournament with a win, while the gold-nominated United States lost to Sweden in the women’s soccer competitions.
Thursday is the men’s soccer and softball games.
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