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Japanese 'nuclear power village' website pulled for 'inappropriate' content

The main page of the "Atsumare! Genshiryokumura" website is seen in this screenshot taken before it was taken down by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc.

TOKYO -- An association consisting of mainly companies in the nuclear industry took down a website after it was criticized online as having a facetious name and flippant content, among other reasons, just five days after its creation.

On the evening of April 12, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum Inc. (JAIF) terminated the website "Atsumare! Genshiryokumura (Everyone gather! Nuclear power village)" explaining it had used "inappropriate expressions." It was replaced with an apology message that read, "We apologize to anyone who experienced unpleasantness."

A JAIF representative said the website was built with the intention to "support young people involved in atomic energy," in the face of adversity after the tsunami following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake caused a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The main page of this website created on April 8 showed comic characters including creatures and a Sengoku (warring states) period warrior asking "What village are you from?"

However, the term "genshiryokumura (nuclear power village)" has been used to criticize the closed nature of the Japanese nuclear industry. Though the JAIF explained it "wanted people to have a positive image" of the term, the website name was criticized by many on Twitter. One post read, "They've become defiant. The use of language (on the website) seems to mock citizens."

Another page with the name "Kurofune," referring to the foreign vessels that came to Japan around the 16th to 19th centuries, featured multiple pro-nuclear commentaries from foreigners in the atomic industry. One remark said, we should build more nuclear power plants to raise kids in a safe environment.

Meanwhile, many of the pages were not fully made, and several items on the website had nothing to do with atomic energy, such as the lyrics of a nonsensical school anthem. The content of the website were decided on by the JAIF secretariat, according to the JAIF representative.

Many criticized such content via Twitter. One of them posted, "The website is an inappropriate joke," and another wrote, "I can't understand the nerve to run such an absurd website targeting younger generations."

(Japanese original by Riki Iwama, Science & Environment News Department)

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