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Japanese actor's last min. Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony pull-out likely due to past skit

Actor Naoto Takenaka is seen in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward in this file photo. (Mainichi/Risa Baba)

TOKYO -- Japanese actor Naoto Takenaka pulled out of his Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony appearance at the last minute likely due to a past skit mocking people with disabilities, it has emerged.

    The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games revealed on July 29 that Takenaka, 65, had withdrawn from the July 23 ceremony. The committee's public relations representative said, "Regarding Mr. Takenaka's appearance, he offered his resignation just before the opening ceremony, after thinking carefully about his involvement. In the end, he did not appear."

    The July 29 issue of the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine carried a story saying that Takenaka had quit the opening ceremony performance for reasons including a comedy skit making fun of the disabled.

    (Japanese original by Shun Iwakabe, Sports News Department)

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