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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Not so cute

Not so cute

October 29, 2018



TEPCO apologizes for insensitive SNS posts over damaged nuclear plant




This TEPCO post of a picture showing the No. 4 reactor building at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is accompanied by a hashtag reading "Kojo-moe," praising the facility.


TOKYO -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) apologized on Oct. 29 after its official Twitter and Instagram accounts faced a wave of criticism online for carrying a picture taken inside the building housing the No. 4 reactor at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station with a hashtag perceived as praising the facility.

The picture in question showed the cooling pool for spent nuclear fuel rods inside the reactor building, where a hydrogen explosion occurred during the March 2011 nuclear disaster. Core meltdowns hit three of the other reactors at the power plant in northern Japan.


The pictured was posted to the TEPCO headquarters public relations account at around 11:51 a.m. on Oct. 29. A hashtag accompanying the picture read "Koji-moe" in Japanese, a label meant to show spectacular factory scenes that attract enthusiasts. This combination of the photo and the tag triggered a barrage of accusations that the company was "insensitive" and "inappropriate."


The power utility removed the picture around 2 p.m., and uploaded it again without the controversial tag. A TEPCO official explained that the tag, which was used to post pictures of other facilities, was used by mistake. "We were inconsiderate, and deeply apologize," the company said.


The TEPCO nuclear plant disaster, triggered by a massive tsunami from the Great East Japan Earthquake, released large amounts of radioactive materials into the air, causing thousands of people to flee their homes. Up to around 43,000 people still remain evacuated, according to the Fukushima Prefectural Government.



(Japanese original by Kazuhisa Soneda, News Layout Center)


TEPCO’s tweet on Fukushima ‘love-factory’ fails miserably





October 30, 2018 at 16:10 JST


Tokyo Electric Power Co. quickly learned that Twitter users find nothing lovely, endearing or irresistibly cute about a damaged reactor building at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


The utility apologized after coming under fire for posting a tweet carrying the hashtag “#kojo-moe” (love-factory) in Japanese along with a picture of the spent fuel pool on the top part of the No. 4 reactor building on Oct. 29.


“Kojo” is a term for factory or industrial plant. “Moe” is a slang word used to describe something that melts one’s heart or is irresistibly pretty or cute.


In recent years, the term “kojo-moe” has been used by factory enthusiasts for industrial structures considered beautiful, such as plants illuminated at night. It has also appeared in a number of photobooks of factories.


Soon after TEPCO’s tweet was posted, the utility’s official account was bombarded with critical replies.


One said, “How many lives do you think the nuclear accident ruined?”


The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused the meltdowns of three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. Radioactive substances were released into the atmosphere, and about 80,000 people in 11 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture were forced to evacuate their homes.


More than 43,000 residents remain displaced.


The No. 4 reactor did not melt down, but its building was seriously damaged in a hydrogen explosion.


TEPCO swiftly deleted the tweet and posted an apology: “We deeply apologize for upsetting you.”


The account has reposted the photo but with no hashtag.


A TEPCO official in charge of public relations said the intention of the original tweet was to “widen public interest in (nuclear) technology and facilities.”


“We were not considerate enough in using a certain term for the hashtag,” the official said. “We offer our deepest apology.”


(This article was written by Daiki Ishizuka and Hiroshi Ishizuka.)


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