Japan has lodged a protest against a French newspaper cartoon depicting sumo wrestlers with extra limbs fighting in front of the country’s crippled nuclear power plant and linking it to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday said Tokyo planned to formally complain to the weekly paper Le Canard Enchaine via the Japanese embassy in France.
He said the cartoon insulted those affected by the March 2011 disaster and misrepresented conditions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The plant’s recent leaks of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean have triggered international concerns.
One of the cartoons published on Wednesday shows two sumo wrestlers, each with an extra arm and leg, facing off with the nuclear plant in the background, as a pair of spectators in hazardous materials safety suits and full-face masks watched the match from outside the ring.
Another cartoon in the same paper showed two people wearing hazmat suits and holding dosimeters standing at the poolside, with a phrase next to it saying Fukushima already has an Olympic-size pool.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe assured the International Olympic Committee hours before the 8 September vote that the leaks were “under control.”
Japan’s government said it was getting more directly involved in the plant’s water management programme and announced public funding of some costly measures to contain the leaks.