TOKYO (AP) – Keigo Oyamada, a Japanese composer whose music is part of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, has apologized for harassing a classmate as a child.
Reports that he allegedly abused a disabled child, which recently surfaced online and was covered by Japanese media, is prompting a backlash on social media, demanding his resignation.
Oyamada, a well-known rock musician, had bragged about the abuse in detail in interviews he gave to Japanese magazines in the 1990s.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart, of course to the classmate himself whom I hurt, and to all my fans, friends and others involved,” said Oyamada, also known as Cornelius. , in a July 16 statement on its site.
Oyamada, who also apologized on Twitter, said he hoped to contact the person he harassed and apologize. He had been “immature,” he said, and it was the guilt that had kept him from coming forward before.
The scandal is the latest to afflict the Games, already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, just five days from the opening. Polls show the Japanese public remain concerned about the health risks, and some want the event canceled or postponed again.
IOC President Thomas Bach clashed with protesters in Tokyo and Hiroshima, the site of the WWII atomic bombing. Critics are also mounting about a “welcome reception” for Bach scheduled for Sunday evening at the state guesthouse. Tokyo is now under a government “state of emergency” regarding the pandemic, which asks people not to go out at night or to gather in groups.
Earlier this year, Yoshiro Mori resigned as chair of the organizing committee over his perceived sexist comments about women talking too much. Hiroshi Sasaki stepped down as Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for suggesting a Japanese actress dress in piggy style.
Takayuki Fujimoto, professor of media studies at Toyo University, urged Oyamada to resign. The abuse, which continued while Oyamada was in elementary school through high school, violated Olympic principles of diversity and human rights, he said in an online comment.
“Otherwise, the Tokyo Games will have as a negative legacy, said it again and again, that a horrific bully worked on the music for the opening ceremony.” It is simply shameful for our nation, ”said Fujimoto.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama