Japanese Composer Working on Olympics Opening Ceremony Resigns After Bullying Allegations

A Japanese composer working on the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony resigned on Monday over allegations of bullying his classmates in the past.

Keigo Oyamada posted an apology on his Twitter and Facebook accounts after reports of his past abuse surfaced on social media.

"I sincerely accept the opinions and advice I have received, express my gratitude, and will keep them in mind for my future actions and thoughts," Oyamada wrote.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart."

Oyamada was accused of bullying classmates, including those with disabilities, and faced backlash and calls for his resignation on social media. He posted his apology last week.

Some critics have said Oyamada should apologize in person through a press conference, while others questioned why the apology hadn't been issued earlier.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Olympic Rings
Keigo Oyamada resigned as a composer for the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony over allegations of bullying his classmates as a child. A man wearing a face mask walks past the Olympic Rings ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Toru Hanai/Getty Images

Games organizers said on Sunday he would stay on because he had shown remorse. Hours after Oyamada submitted his resignation, they reversed their position and called his actions "absolutely unacceptable," saying their earlier decision to let him stay in light of his apology, and the short time left before the opening ceremony, was "wrong."

"We offer our deepest apologies for the offense and confusion caused to so many during this time," organizers said.

Oyamada, whose works have been compared to the American rock musician Beck, talked about the abuse in Japanese magazine interviews he gave in the 1990s.

In a statement on Sunday, Atsuko Kubo, head of an association of families of the mentally disabled, "strongly protested" against Oyamada's past actions and said it was disturbing he had targeted the disabled, who were less likely to fight back and that he still bragged about it years later.

Earlier Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Oyamada's past bullying goes against government policy of achieving an inclusive society and "cannot be tolerated."

It was not immediately clear if the music for Friday's opening ceremony would be modified. The show will be held without spectators in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus infections, although some officials, guests and media will attend.

The resignation comes as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government faces criticism for prioritizing the Olympics despite the public's health concerns amid the resurgence of the infections.

Oyamada's is the latest resignation to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over remarks perceived as sexist. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies after suggesting a Japanese actress should dress as a pig.

IOC and Prime Minister
It was not clear if the music for Friday's opening ceremony would be modified after the composer resigned due to bullying allegations. IOC President Thomas Bach, right, meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, second from left, during a welcome party for Bach and IOC officials at Akasaka Palace, Japanese state guest house, in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday. Courtesy of Tokyo 2020 via AP