• Olympics

Japan to complain over French Fukushima cartoons

ESPN staff
September 12, 2013
Tokyo were selected as the hosts of the 2020 Olympics on Saturday © Getty Images

Japan will make a formal complaint over derogatory cartoons published in a French newspaper that poked fun at the decision to award Tokyo the 2020 Olympics in light of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima.

Le Canard Enchaine, a satirical weekly, published a cartoon that depicted sumo wrestlers with extra limbs competing against the backdrop of a defunct nuclear plant. Another showed two people people in Hazmat suits checking a pool of water with a Geiger counter.

The country's government insist the accident is being handled and will not have any bearing on the Olympics, a viewpoint repeated by Tokyo's bidding team.

Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, attacked the cartoons for making light of the victims, with tens of thousands of people forced to leave their homes as a result of the radiation released by the triple meltdowns at Fukushima following a major earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

"This cartoon hurts the feelings of those who suffered through the Great East Japan Earthquake," said Suga.

"It is inappropriate and gives a wrong impression of the Fukushima contaminated water issue. It is extremely regrettable."

Japan will make an official complaint through the French embassy in Tokyo, with Suga saying the Foreign Ministry had been instructed to "thoroughly explain the situation" to avoid repeat incidents in the future.

Last October, TV channel France 2 showed a photo depicting Japanese national team goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms.

The 'We're Not Lying' show quipped that it was the "Fukushima effect" that made Kawashima perform so well in Japan's shock 1-0 friendly win over France in Paris.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reportedly apologised over the incident with France 2 expressing their regret.

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