French TV host under fire after making 'Fukushima effect' joke about Japan goalkeeper
12:28 GMT, 16 October 2012
Japan has reacted angrily to a French television host who showed a composite picture of national team goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms and made a joke about the 'Fukushima effect'.
Praising Kawashima's performance in Japan's 1-0 win over France in a friendly on Friday, Laurent Ruquier's ill-advised jibe prompted laughter and applause in the studio.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura called Ruquier's remark, a reference to last year's nuclear crisis in Fukushima, 'inappropriate'.
'Inappropriate': The image of Japan stopper Eiji Kawashima on French TV
He added that the Japanese Embassy in France had sent a letter of protest to the television station France 2.
The letter said the remark 'hurts the feelings of people affected by the disaster and hinders efforts for reconstruction,' Fujimura added.
The nuclear disaster was triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in March last year.
Winners: Japan beat France 1-0 on Friday night
More than 15,000 people died and almost 3,000 are still unaccounted for.
Japan's education minister Makiko Tanaka, whose portfolio also includes sports, was far from amused. “
'If it's true (he said it) it is behaviour which lacks sensitivity,' she said.
'Many people were hurt in the nuclear crisis. I don't know how people can make fun of it.'