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Japanese composer for Tokyo Olympics apologizes for abuse

Japanese composer for Tokyo Olympics apologizes for abuse

Keigo Oyamada, a Japanese composer whose music is part of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, has apologized for bullying a classmate during his childhoodBy YURI KAGEYAMA Associated PressJuly 18, 2021, 1:16 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — Keigo Oyamada, a Japanese composer whose music is part of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, has apologized for bullying a classmate during his childhood.The reports of his abusing a child with disabilities, which surfaced online recently and got covered in Japanese media, are sparking a backlash on social media, demanding his resignation.Oyamada, a well-known rock musician, had boasted about the abuse in detail in Japanese magazine interviews he gave in the 1990s.“I apologize from the bottom of my heart, of course to the classmate himself whom I have hurt, and all my fans, friends and other people involved,” Oyamada, also known as Cornelius, said in a July 16 statement on his site.Oyamada, who also apologized on Twitter, said he hoped to contact the person he had bullied and apologize. He had been “immature,” he said, and it was guilt that had prevented him from coming forward before.The scandal is the latest to plague the Games, already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, with just five days to go before opening. Surveys show the Japanese public remains worried about health risks, and some want the event canceled or postponed again.IOC President Thomas Bach has faced protesters in Tokyo and Hiroshima, the site of the World War II atomic bombing. Criticism is also growing about “a welcome reception” for Bach set for Sunday evening at the state guesthouse. Tokyo is now under a government “state of emergency” over the pandemic, which asks people not to go out at night or gather in groups.Earlier this year, Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over his remarks perceived as sexist, about women talking too much. Hiroshi Sasaki stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies for suggesting a Japanese actress dress as a pig.Takayuki Fujimoto, professor of media studies at Toyo University, urged Oyamada to resign. The abuse, which extended while Oyamada was in elementary school through high school, violated the Olympic principles of diversity and human rights, he said in an online commentary.“Otherwise, the Tokyo Games will have as its negative legacy, being told and retold, that a perpetrator of horrific bullying worked on the opening ceremony music. That is simply shame for our nation,” said Fujimoto.———Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Tokyo elects assembly amid pandemic fears over Olympics

Tokyo elects assembly amid pandemic fears over Olympics

Voters in Japan’s capital are electing the Tokyo city assembly amid worries about health risks during the Olympics, opening in three weeks, as coronavirus cases continue to riseBy YURI KAGEYAMA Associated PressJuly 4, 2021, 7:13 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — Voters in Japan’s capital are electing the Tokyo city assembly amid worries about health risks during the Olympics, opening in three weeks, as coronavirus cases continue to rise.In Sunday’s balloting, 271 candidates are vying for 127 seats. Eligible voters total 9.8 million people in the megacity with a population of nearly 14 million.Public opinion surveys show about 60% of respondents want the Games canceled or postponed again. Behind the fears is the lagging vaccination rollout, with only about 10% of the population fully vaccinated.The Yomiuri daily newspaper estimated voter turnout at slightly under 10%, lagging the last election by about 5 percentage points. The polls close at 8 p.m.Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike called in sick two weeks ago, citing exhaustion, and was not seen in public until Friday. Her routine role would have been to stump for her party, Tomin First, the biggest with 46 seats in the assembly heading into the election.Neither Koike nor her party pushed for a cancellation, but instead called for the Games without fans in the stands. The organizing committee has said a decision on attendance restrictions was still being studied.The only major party clearly advocating for the Olympic to be canceled was the Communist Party, which held 18 seats.The Democrats, a leading opposition party, raised questions about the Olympics but pushed other issues in their campaign, such as economic aid for those hurt by the coronavirus.The Olympics, opening July 23, bring together 15,000 athletes and more than 50,000 officials, including corporate sponsors and dignitaries, as well as 70,000 volunteers.Some medical experts have warned it could become a COVID-19 superspreader event, warning that new cases in Tokyo, now totaling several hundred, could shoot up to thousands.Olympic team members and officials are more likely than the Japanese public to have been fully vaccinated.The ruling Liberal Democrats, the party of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, which previously had 25 seats in the Tokyo assembly, are likely to increase their representation as the momentum of Koike’s party has fizzled, according to Japanese media reports. But most people were still undecided.Koike, a former news anchor, became Tokyo’s first woman governor in 2016, and was reelected to another four-year term in a 2020 landslide.She is a proponent of gender equality, comparing the situation in Japan to “an iron plate,” rather than “a glass ceiling.”Analysts say Koike, previously a parliamentary lawmaker, may be contemplating a return to national politics. Parliamentary elections are expected later this year.———Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for coronavirus

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for coronavirus

A member of Uganda’s Olympic team has tested positive for the coronavirus and was barred entry into Japan, in the first detected infection among arriving athletes for the Tokyo Games opening in five weeksBy YURI KAGEYAMA Associated PressJune 20, 2021, 1:13 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTOKYO — A member of Uganda’s Olympic team has tested positive for the coronavirus and was barred entry into Japan, in the first detected infection among arriving athletes for the Tokyo Games opening in five weeks.The eight other members of the team left early Sunday by chartered bus for host town Osaka, central Japan, where COVID-19 cases are still being reported.Yasutoshi Nishimura, a minister in charge of economic policy, said on NHK TV Sunday that the government was looking into what had happened with border controls.The athletes, arriving late Saturday at Tokyo’s Narita airport, were all fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jabs and had negative PCR tests before boarding, the Asahi newspaper reported, quoting an anonymous Cabinet Secretariat official.The team member who tested positive was not identified.Critics have raised serious question about the risks of holding the Olympics amid a pandemic. But the IOC, Tokyo organizers and Japanese government insist the Games can be held safely.“Let’s all wait a minute,” opposition lawmaker Renho said on her Twitter account. “This time, nine people arrived. For the Olympics, 100,000 people will be arriving. This is no time to be talking about how this will be a moving experience for our children.”Japan requires a two-week quarantine for overseas arrivals, but the Olympic team isn’t subject to the same border controls.The organizers are expected to decide Monday on allowing some local fans in the stands. Plans for mass public viewing sites in Tokyo were canceled Saturday.Fans from abroad were banned several months ago. Before the pandemic, Japan had been counting on the Olympics to deliver booming tourism and consumer spending.The Ugandan team was the second, after the Australian women’s softball team, to arrive for the Olympics, which open July 23.Uganda is seeing an alarming rise in COVID-19 variants and has just tightened lockdown measures. About 590 deaths have been reported, likely an undercount, given the scarcity of testing.In Japan, a state of emergency to curb the spread of the virus in Tokyo, Osaka and other urban areas ends Sunday, although daily cases are still growing by several hundred.There has been no lockdown in Japan. The so-called emergencies, which have lasted for most of this year, focus on having restaurants and stores close early, limiting crowd size at venues, and asking people to social distance, work from home and wear masks.The vaccination rate in Japan is the slowest among developed nations, with about 6% of the population fully vaccinated. Although the rollout is gradually picking up, most people are unlikely to be fully vaccinated ahead of the Olympics.More than 14,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Japan.———Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama