Arab News Japan
TOKYO: The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee fired Kobayashi Kentaro as the show director of the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies after the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a US Jewish rights group, condemned him over his “past anti-Semitic remarks.”
An official statement by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu denounced the “deeply offensive and unacceptable remarks.”
“Such remarks also go completely against the value of unity that the Olympic and Paralympic Games strive for, and against our goal of realizing a society where everyone can live in harmony,” Motegi said.
The tragedy of the Holocaust was an unprecedented atrocity in human history, Motegi outlined.
In 1998 Kobayashi described the Holocaust in a comedy show as “the Jewish massacre” in a description of the situation in which there were many pieces of paper cut into human shapes.
Hashimoto Seiko, President of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, who issued the immediately effective firing dismissal decision, joined Motegi by offering “deepest apologies.”
Motegi, in his statement, also wanted to distance the Japanese government from those remarks pledging Japan will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that the Tokyo 2020 Games will truly represent the Olympic and Paralympic spirit.
“Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of six million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics,” Abraham Cooper, SWC associate dean and global social action director, said in a statement.
Kobayashi apologized for the remarks in question:”I now recognize that my choice of words was wrong,” he said.