ATOMIC bomb jokes broadcast on BBC quiz show QI have prompted an apology from the corporation after the Japanese embassy complained.
In an episode, screened before Christmas, panellists joked about the experience of Mitsubishi employee Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived both atom bomb strikes towards the end of the Second World War.
Presenter Stephen Fry described Yamaguchi, who was badly burned in the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945, and was in Nagasaki when it was bombed three days later, as "the unluckiest man in the world".
Around 200,000 Japanese people are estimated to have been killed in the bombings and Yamaguchi, who died last year at the age of 93, is the only person officially recognised by the Japanese government as having survived both.
He was in Hiroshima on a business trip when the first US bomb struck, leaving him with serious burns. The following day he returned by train to his home city of Nagasaki, which was bombed on 9 August.
In the episode, Fry asked panellists: "Now what is so lucky about the unluckiest man in the world?"
Comedian Alan Davies, guessing Yamaguchi's link to Hiroshima, said: "Bomb landed on him and bounced off?"
Panellist Rob Brydon added: "Is the glass half empty, is it half full? Either way it's radioactive. So don't drink it."
Japanese viewers who took offence at the quips reportedly contacted diplomatic staff in London and e-mailed the show.
The BBC said it received a letter from the Japanese embassy and would reply "shortly". "We are sorry for any offence caused," a spokesman added.