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)