Japan’s embassy in France has lodged a formal protest with the broadcasters of a satirical TV show which dared to mock Japan’s radiation belching broken reactors, prompting the French to tell them to get lost and mind their own business.
The programme in question is Canal+’s “Les Guignols de l’info,” a highly irreverent puppet-based satirical current affairs comedy show popular in France.
The offending section shows Japan’s rising sun flag reworked rather fittingly to reflect Japan’s recent experiments with building low-lying seaside nuclear power plants in a major earthquake zone, and also cheekily compares tsunami ravaged Sendai with A-bomb wrecked Hiroshima.
In other episodes the show has variously suggested tsunami make for really good surfing, that the most important consequence of the quake is moving France several cm closer to horrible Islamic countries, and that Mr Burns was in charge of the exploding plant…
Japan’s foreign service is livid, and after haranguing both the BBC and later the International Herald Tribune into apologising for humour it finds inappropriate it decided to try its luck against the French station in a written letter of protest.
Japan’s major objection:
“The content of the programme is exceedingly hurtful to the victims of this tragedy.”
Sadly, it seems such an assertive attitude was not available for deployment in any of Japan’s recent spats with China.
The TV station is having not about to be censored in their own country by a bunch of spineless Japanese diplomats more concerned with harassing foreign media than explaining why their government is presiding over the second worst nuclear power disaster in history:
“Guignols is a programme which satirises a wide variety of subjects. It is not intended to harm anyone. There is such a thing as freedom of expression.”
They declined to offer any apology.
The embassy meanwhile promises to keep watching for any more coverage it dislikes, and to complain about that too.
The 2ch reaction is notably muted and more than a little self-abasing, particularly compared to the similar fracas over the UK’s airing of a programme daring to make light of Japan’s last major dalliance with the power of the atom:
“Japanese are idiots so it can’t be helped.”
“Are they in any position to protest this?”
“It’s only France.”
“They’re busy trying to export their own reactors so they must feel the need to differentiate themselves from Japan now…”
“Keep it up!”
“They’re so pro-Japanese there, is there really the need for this kind of protest?”
“As expected of those anti-Japanese French!”
“The Korea of Europe.”
“The China of Europe.”
“As expected of a Jew nation!”
“We’ll be sinking to Korea’s level soon enough the way we are going.”
“What’s the big deal? Before protesting something like this, why not top it leaking radiation first? We’re still causing the world a colossal nuisance, they should be showing more self-awareness.”
“This really cannot be helped at a time like this. In fact, I hope they do it more – our moronic government needs a slap in the face from the outside world to wake it up.”
“It really can’t be helped that we’re being mocked like this.”
“French TV really is 2ch level isn’t it?”
“Considering the irresponsible actions of our government after the quake, don’t you just want to mock them as well?”
“Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima…”
“This is all the result of inadequate safety procedures so it can’t really be helped for it to be mocked so.”
“Why do foreigners love making fun of disasters in other countries?”
“I don’t like it. Did they do this when Chernobyl struck the USSR?”
“If Japan picks fights with people over little jokes like this it’s no wonder we are disliked the world over.”
“The quake and tsunami may have been natural, but the reactor disaster was an artificial calamity, it can’t be helped for it to be mocked.”
“It’s because they have Korean immigrants in France.”
“It’s because of the Chinese immigrants in France.”
“Try watching some of Japan’s variety shows. Nobody complains about them but they start complaining about foreign shows? Ridiculous.”
“If there’s an accident in France, will they be showing the radiation symbol in the colours of the tricolore?”
“Foreigners are like that. They’ll just come out and say ‘it’s better than Chernobyl at least.’ Or on YouTube they make fun of tsunami videos saying ‘even the houses can move by themselves, what a high tech country!’ Well I don’t care, it just shows what idiots they are. Like people from Osaka.”
“What about Korea – their government actually came out and called the Japanese government ‘incompetent’ without a trace of irony. Well, it’s true so there’s no denying it…”
“This is satire not news, the only thing anyone should be taking issue with is the quality of that satire.”
“Well, for a slave race who have never so much as once rebelled to be mocked by the French can’t be helped.”
“Look, it can’t be helped. All the other countries are watching us and thinking ‘what the fuck are they doing over there?'”
“Everyone here is so soft on the whites!”
“It’s a satirical programme… why are they even protesting it?”
“Doesn’t that stupid nuked country have something more important to be doing before protesting this sort of thing?”
“Japan is strong indeed! They keep losing and even as things continue to deteriorate they fixate on something like this like some crazy cult. Blind patriotism is just as damaging as treason.”
“Calm down everyone, have a sup of our lovely radioactive caesium laced tea – it’s well within our newly raised safety limits.”