• Reuters

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Joshua Cooper Ramo, the commentator who offended residents during coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony by straying into the sensitive issue of Japanese-Korean relations, has been taken off the air, U.S. broadcaster NBC said 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.

NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp., had announced in December that Ramo would be a contributor at the games, having previously served as an expert on culture and geopolitical issues during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The speaker agency that represents Ramo did not respond to a request for comment.

Ramo, who has written books on China and is a corporate director of Starbucks Corp. and FedEx Corp., said as athletes paraded into the stadium 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 brutally colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, left a deep legacy of mistrust and ill feeling that lasts to this day.

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee (POCOG) had earlier said it “informed NBC of the errors in their commentary and the sensitivity of the subject in Korea.”

NBC apologized in writing to the organizing committee for the remark, which the committee said it accepted.

The committee did not immediately respond to the news that Ramo had been let go.

Ramo is also co-CEO of Kissinger Associates, an advisory firm of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. NBC is the exclusive U.S. broadcaster for the Olympics, having paid about $7.65 billion to air the games until at least 2032.

It is producing more than 2,400 hours of coverage over 18 days from Pyeongchang.

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