Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony director has been fired.

Japanese Kentaro Kobayashi should have directed the event on Friday, but was discredited over comments he had made in the past about the Holocaust.

Japan's organizing committee chairman Seiko Hashimoto said Kobayashi had to leave "because he was joking about a tragedy".

It would be statements that the Japanese already made in 1998, but that recently resurfaced in national media.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, called "any association of this person with the Tokyo Olympics an affront to the memory of six million Jews."

Due to the resignation of Kobayashi, it is still unclear what the spectacle will look like one day before the opening ceremony.

It is yet another setback that the organizers of the Games have to endure.

It also became clear on Wednesday that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not be present at the opening ceremony due to the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Due to the corona pandemic, foreign spectators are already not welcome at the Olympic Games.

The opening ceremony is traditionally a grand and spectacular affair, culminating in the parade of the participating countries, led by the flag bearers.

At the previous Games in Rio 2016, 12,600 athletes and officials marched into the Olympic Stadium;

in Tokyo that number will be considerably lower.

Not only do many athletes only arrive in Tokyo after the opening due to corona, but the express rule to keep as much distance from each other as possible will also lead to far fewer athletes participating in the flag parade.