September 12 - Japan is to launch a formal complaint about satirical cartoons published in a French newspaper that link the Fukushima nuclear crisis to the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics awarded to Tokyo last weekend, a Government official confirmed today.
The cartoon, printed in Le Canard enchaîné, shows two sumo wrestlers with extra limbs in front of the crippled nuclear plant, while a commentator says: "Marvellous! Thanks to Fukushima, sumo is now an Olympic sport."
Another sketch shows people in nuclear protective clothing holding a Geiger counter by the side of a pool.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the cartoons "hurt the feelings of those who suffered through the Great East Japan Earthquake", referring to the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the triple meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant - the world's worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union.
"It is inappropriate and gives a wrong impression of the Fukushima contaminated water issue," he added.
"It is extremely regrettable."
Suga said Japan would lodge the complaint through the French embassy in Tokyo and that the Foreign Ministry had been directed to "thoroughly explain the situation" to avoid similar incidents.
This latest incident echoes that of last year when Japan was angered after broadcaster France 2's We're not lying show used a doctored photograph of Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms, saying it was the "Fukushima Effect" that helped him save goals during a football match between the two nations.
The television channel subsequently apologised.
Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires last Saturday (September 7) amid growing concerns about leaking radioactive water from the Fukushima plant, which lies 141 miles north of the capital.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe assured the IOC that the situation was "under control", however, just yesterday the operator of the plant admitted that levels of tritium, which is considered one of the least harmful radioactive elements, spiked more than 15 times in groundwater near a leaked tank over three days this week.
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