Olympics opening ceremony director sacked for Holocaust joke

Footage of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s recently emerged in which he appears to make jokes about the Holocaust.

Japan's Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed "painful facts of history".

The dismissal is the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Games.

Since the start of the year, three other organisers have been forced to step down from Tokyo 2020 - and the games have already been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blues to lose All Blacks lock Patrick Tuipulotu to Japan sabbatical in 2022

Multiple sources have confirmed to Stuff that Tuipulotu will exercise the sabbatical clause in his New Zealand Rugby contract to take up an offer said to be in the vicinity of $1.4 million to play the 2022 season in the revamped Japan competition. Toyota Verblitz is thought to be his destination.

However it is also set to see him extend his commitment to the Blues and New Zealand rugby beyond his current term through to the 2023 World Cup.

Tokyo bans spectators amid COVID-19 emergency

The move marked a sharp turnaround from as recently as last week, when some officials were still insisting they could organise the Games safely with some fans.

It all but strips the global sporting showpiece, which is due to start on 23 July and run until 8 August, of its last vestiges of pomp and public spectacle.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it was essential to prevent Tokyo, where the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 variant was spreading, from becoming a flashpoint of new infections.

Japan offers 3 million vaccine doses at Pacific Islands Summit

Suga’s announcement came as leaders of Japan and Pacific island nations and territories held an online meeting Friday, with Tokyo aiming to promote its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” in an apparent effort to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

In the virtual meeting, Japan also pledged assistance to help Pacific countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic by strengthening health care and medical systems, providing economic relief, and improving infrastructure facilities among other measures, according to government officials.

Twenty missing as landslide hits Japanese city

Video on social media showed a torrent of black mud plummeting down from a mountain top and on through the city towards the sea. Several houses were destroyed or buried.

Kyodo news agency reports that the bodies of what appear to be two victims have been found in the port district.

A witness told national broadcaster NHK: "I heard a horrible sound and saw a mudslide flowing downwards as rescue workers were urging people to evacuate. So I ran to higher ground."

Auckland-born Bundee Aki to debut for British and Irish Lions

The fixture, the first-ever between the Lions and Japan, has been organised to help Gatland’s team prepare for the upcoming tour of South Africa which will culminate in a three-test series against World Cup champions, the Springboks.

Auckland-born Aki, who attended Manurewa High School, moved to Ireland in 2014 to play for Connacht, and made his debut for his adopted country in 2017 under New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt.

Aki will make his debut for the Lions against the Brave Blossoms, who are coached by Kiwis Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown, at Murrayfield.

Tokyo Olympics: Ugandan tests positive for COVID in Japan

The event was postponed last year, but is now going ahead despite a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases in Japan.

Uganda is also experiencing a surge in cases, which forced the government to tighten lockdown measures on Friday.

The unnamed Ugandan was part of a nine-member squad who had all been fully vaccinated, reports said.

The group - who included boxers, coaches, and officials - had also tested negative before leaving Uganda.

Japan great says Tokyo has been 'cornered' into hosting Olympics

In an outspoken editorial, Kaori Yamaguchi said the International Olympic Committee, the government and local organisers are ignoring widespread opposition to the Olympics from the Japanese public.

Depending on how the question is phrased in different polls, between 50-80% of Japanese oppose holding the Olympics.

COVID-19: Japan extends state of emergency just before Olympics

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that although infection were falling they remained high, and that some hospitals were still under strain

Restriction will be in place until 19 June, five weeks before the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to start.

Organisers said they would wait until the emergency ends on 20 June to decide whether to allow local fans to attend.

Overseas fans have already been barred.

Olympic Games could create an 'Olympic strain,' warns head of Japan Doctors Union

Naoto Ueyama has repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Japanese government and International Olympic Committee's decision to hold the Tokyo Olympics in July despite rising cases in the country and an increasingly burdened health-care system.

"It is dangerous to hold the Olympics here in Tokyo this July," he warned in a news conference, saying that with people coming into Japan from over 200 nations around the world, "all of the different mutant strains of the virus that exist in different places will be concentrated and gathered here in Tokyo."