Japan is to formally complain about a cartoon that appeared in a French weekly newspaper that pokes fun at Tokyo being awarded the 2020 Olympics.
One of the cartoons in Le Canard Enchaine shows sumo wrestlers with extra limbs in front of the Fukushima nuclear plant and linking this to the games.
The Japanese government says jokes about the disaster are no laughing matter.
“This cartoon hurts the feelings of those who suffered through the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, referring to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima nuclear plant, triggering the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
“It is inappropriate and gives a wrong impression of the Fukushima contaminated water issue. It is extremely regrettable.”
But Le Canard Enchaine believes Tokyo is taking the matter a tad too seriously. Its chief editor, Louis-Marie Horeau: “We’ve been stunned by the reaction of the Japanese authorities. Of course, we didn’t intend to offend anyone. But a cartoonist’s freedom also consists of depicting an ongoing tragedy.”
Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games after assuring the International Olympic Committee that the situation at Fukushima was “under control”.