Japan angered by French Fukushima cartoon


A journalist looks at the stricken Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.


Yoshikazu Tsuno

A cartoon in a French satirical weekly depicting sumo wrestlers with extra limbs at the Fukushima nuclear plant has angered Japan.

The country, which was just announced as the host of the 2020 Olympics, will now launch a formal protest against the cartoon, which reads: "Marvelous! Thanks to Fukushima, sumo is now an Olympic sport."

A second image in the cartoon, which appeared in France's Le Canard Enchaîné, shows two people in hazmat suits conducting radiation tests beside a pool. Its caption reads: "There is already a pool in Fukushima for the Olympics."

"These kinds of satirical pictures hurt the victims of the disaster," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

"This kind of journalism gives the wrong impression about the waste water problem," he added.

Japan's government has repeatedly said that 2011's triple meltdown at Fukushima and the wastewater problem that followed are now under control. It also claimed that the Tokyo Olympics would not be affected.

Just last month, Japan issued its most serious alert since the earthquake and tsunami that caused the meltdowns two years ago.

Contaminated water had leaked from one of the plant's storage tanks and into the ground. The 300 tons of highly radioactive water was first classified as a level-one incident, but was later raised to a level-three, which is considered a "serious incident."

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