A joke on French television which showed a composite picture of Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms and then dubbed it the 'Fukushima effect' has caused anger in Japan.
The joke was actually made in praise of Kawashima, whose fine performance saw Japan beat France 1-0 last Friday. The suggestion was that he must of had four arms to keep France at bay.
The wisecrack from presenter Laurent Ruquier on the France 2 television station prompted laughter and applause in the studio.
However, Japan's chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura failed to see the funny side, today saying the reference to last year's nuclear crisis in Fukushima, sparked by a tsunami which killed 15,000 people was "inappropriate".
Fujimura added that the Japanese Embassy in France has sent a letter to France 2 in protest, saying the joke "hurts the feelings of people affected by the disaster and hinders efforts for reconstruction."
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."Reuse content