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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Olympics director fired on eve of opening over Holocaust joke

Latest in series of missteps casts further shadow on Games

Hiroshi Sasaki, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games executive creative director, displays a portrait of Olympics opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi at a news conference in Tokyo in December 2019.   © Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) -- On the eve of the Tokyo Games, organisers fired the director of the opening ceremony over comments he made about the Holocaust, while media reported former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a memorable advocate for the Tokyo Games, would skip the showpiece event. The news is the latest in a series of embarrassments for Tokyo organisers that have sparked outrage at home and abroad, and comes just days after a well known musician was forced to step down as composer for the ceremony after old reports of his bullying and abusive behaviour surfaced.

Abe, who famously dressed up as the titular plumber from video game Super Mario at the Rio Games to represent Japan, played an outsized role in attracting the Olympics to Tokyo.

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