“The organizing committee has decided to relieve Kobayashi of his post,” she added.
The opening ceremony is set for Friday. While details are kept secret, some 950 people will be allowed to attend at the 68,000-capacity tokyo Olympic Stadium. Due to coronavirus restrictions, nearly all other events will be held with spectators present.
The well-known figure in Japanese theater apologized in a statement.
“In a video that was released in 1998 to introduce young comedians… a skit that I wrote contained lines that were extremely inappropriate,” he said.
“It was from a time when I was not able to get laughs the way I wanted, and I believe I was trying to grab people’s attention in a shallow-minded way.”
In the sketch, Kobayashi and a comedy partner were pretending to be famous children’s TV entertainers. Kobayashi then referred to some paper doll cutouts as “the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust.'”
Another blow to tokyo Olympics
The ceremony was already set to go ahead without its planned opening music after composer Keigo Oyamada was forced to quit. Oyamada had bragged in interviews about bullying his disabled classmates in the past.
In March, the opening ceremony creative director Hiroshi Sasaki also resigned after his plans to have a plus-size model float into the stadium as an “Olympig” sparked anger.
fb/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)