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French TV host under fire for nuclear joke about Japanese goalie (video)

Oct 16, 2012, 11:37 AM EDT


All of Japan is in an uproar at this hour over a comment, and a composite photo, by French public TV commentator Laurent Ruquier. While it’s been my personal policy to ignore the French, some are finding that hard to do after Ruquier’s joke at the expense of Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Ruquier, attempting I suppose to compliment the Japanese national team soccer player, showed a composite photo of Kawashima with four arms blocking a shot, calling it “the Fukushima effect”.

Of course you know about the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March of 2011, caused by an earthquake and tsunami: it was in all the papers. Japan is a little sensitive about references to that, and when you add in the whole Hiroshima, Nagasaki World War II thing, it probably would have been wise for Ruquier to steer clear of joke that was sure to, well, bomb.

Praising Kawashima’s performance in Japan’s 1-0 win over France in a football friendly last Friday, Laurent Ruquier’s wisecrack prompted laughter and applause in the studio.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Tuesday called Ruquier’s remark, a reference to last year’s nuclear crisis in Fukushima, “inappropriate”.

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.

I’m having a hard time picturing construction workers discarding their hardhats and storming off the construction site because of this. But apart from being insensitive, it’s not that funny — and that’s the real crime.

  1. eugenesaxe - Oct 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    The picture actually is funny. And while Fukushima itself wasn’t funny, the Japanese need to lighten up. They were the ones pinhead enough to build nuclear reactors in a well-known earthquake/tsunami area.