February 12, 2018 / 1:26 AM / in 5 months

Olympics-NBC boots analyst over Japan comment at Pyeongchang Games

PYEONGCHANG, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Joshua Cooper Ramo, the commentator who offended locals during coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony by straying into the sensitive issue of Japan-South Korean relations, has been taken off the air, U.S. broadcaster NBC said on Monday.

“Joshua Cooper Ramo has completed his responsibilities for NBC in Pyeongchang, and will have no further role on our air,” an NBC spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

NBC had announced in December that Ramo would be an on-air contributor at the Games for NBC, having previously served as an expert on culture and geo-political issues during the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the network.

Ramo, who has written books on China and is a corporate director of Starbucks Corp and FedEx Corp, said as athletes paraded into the Games stadium on Friday that “every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation”.

Koreans around the world criticized his remarks on social media and a petition soon circulated online. Japan, which colonized the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, has left a deep legacy of mistrust and ill-feeling in South Korea.

The Pyeongchang Organising Committee (POCOG) had earlier told Reuters that it “informed NBC of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the subject in Korea.

“NBC issued an official letter of apology with additional apology on a live morning show.”

POCOG did not immediately respond to the news Ramo had been let go.

Editing by Peter Rutherford;

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