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Paris (AFP) Oct 16, 2012
The head of France 2 television apologised on Tuesday to Japan after a presenter's gag showed the Japanese national football team's goalkeeper with four arms and linking that to the "Fukushima effect".
After Eiji Kawashima helped Japan to a 1-0 victory over France in a friendly last week, a variety programme screened by France 2 showed a mock-up of the keeper with four arms, apparently in praise for him having kept a clean sheet.
But host Laurent Ruquier quipped that the extra limbs were due to "the Fukushima effect", a reference to the radiation leaks that spewed from the tsunami-crippled nuclear power station in March 2011.
The incident prompted an official complaint from Tokyo, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura describing it as "inappropriate" and saying it "hurt the feelings of survivors and hampers efforts toward reconstruction".
On Tuesday, France 2 director Jean Reveillon sent his apologies to the Japanese embassy and to Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, who was in Paris on Tuesday for an official visit.
"We are deeply sorry for having hurt your fellow citizens. Laurent Ruquier did not want to be disrespectful to Japan and the Fukushima victims," he said in a statement.
"In this humorous or satirical programme, our presenter was mostly trying to mock the French football team. In any case, given the emotions that this has sparked, France 2 presents its regrets and reaffirms our friendship to the Japanese people," said Reveillon.
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