Japanese government voices outrage over French cartoons

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed outrage over 2 cartoons published in a French satirical magazine, Le Canard Enchaine.

One cartoon depicts multi-limbed sumo wrestling in front of the wrecked nuclear plant as an announcer in radiation protective gear says, “How wonderful! Thanks to Fukushima sumo is now an olympic sport!”

In the second cartoon 2 people in protective suits, one holding a geiger counter. The caption reads, “The pool for the Olympics is already constructed in Fukushima.

Suga said the cartoons were hurtful to victims and gave the wrong impression of the water problems at Fukushima. The Japanese government formally protested to the magazine.

This is not the first such incident between Japan and France. Last year the French TV channel, France-2 showed an altered picture of Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with 4 arms. The program said it was the “Fukushima effect” that allowed Kawashima to block goals so effectively in Japan’s 1-0 defeat over France. The station later apologized for the incident.

I have to say I too find such gallows humor highly offensive. Japanese culture has no tradition of black humor and their outrage is understandable. Unfortunately, in a democracy, French satirists have the freedom to be insensitive jerks if they wish to be.

About unredundant

I am an American expat living in Tokyo, Japan. I love interacting with people so feel free to comment or ask questions. Thank you so much for dropping by!

Posted on September 13, 2013, in Japan, Nuclear Energy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. On this one I think I disagree with you. I understand respecting Japanese culture, but honestly, I applaud the French for calling attention to the issue, which I think is more important than just being polite. I think the world being too polite and silent has allowed the problems to get to this point.

    • I do see the value in keeping the issue in the spotlight. It is my main reason for blogging about it so much. For a long time, it was thought the situation was under control and the work of clean up and decommissioning were proceeding without problem and the issue dropped out of the news. Now we know differently. I also disagreed with the decision to host the Olympics in Tokyo.

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