French earthquake satire offends Japan

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Japan complained to a French broadcaster which made fun in a satirical show of the deadly Japanese earthquake and nuclear disaster, an embassy source in Paris said on Sunday.

The Japanese embassy wrote to private French television channel Canal+ complaining of jokes about Japan on Les Guignols de l'Info, its popular satirical puppet show, said an embassy source who asked not to be named.

He said the show displayed pictures comparing the atomic destruction of Hiroshima in 1945 with the devastation of the city of Sendai by a tsunami in the earthquake and that it joked that the Japanese had not rebuilt since the war.

"They were making fun of the current situation in Japan and Japanese viewers living in France complained to us. That is why we sent a letter complaining to Canal+," the source said.

The disaster caused by the March 11 quake left 26,000 people dead or missing, and crippled the Fukushima atomic plant, raising fears of radiation.

The show "portrayed the workers at Fukushima in the guise of the Mario Brothers," he added, referring to the heroes of the Japanese-created video game. "The workers in the nuclear plant of Fukushima are risking their lives."

A Canal+ representative contacted by AFP could not confirm the complaint, but said the channel had taken part in a charity evening for victims of the earthquake.

The Japanese embassy source said Canal+ had responded to its letter by defending the satirical show which "makes fun of all subjects without exception" and had not meant to offend Japan or the earthquake victims.

He said the embassy was not satisfied and sent a second letter to which it has so far had no reply.

© 2011 AFP

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