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Ukrainian gov't apologizes for showing Emperor Hirohito's photo next to Hitler's in video

A scene from a video posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian government shows images of Benito Mussolini, left, and Adolf Hitler, after Emperor Showa's photo was removed in response to growing criticism in Japan.

TOKYO -- The Ukrainian government on April 24 apologized for publishing a photo of Japanese Emperor Hirohito (posthumously known as Emperor Showa) in a video it posted on Twitter, following a backlash from netizens and others in Japan over the move. The photo has since been removed from the video.

    A scene from the previous version of a video posted on Twitter by the Ukrainian government shows the images of, from left, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Emperor Showa, alongside the subtitles reading, "Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945."

    In the 1-minute, 21-second footage that starts with the English subtitles, "Ideology of contemporary ruscim" (sic), Emperor Showa's photo had initially been shown alongside the portraits of Nazi Germany dictator Adolf Hitler and Italy's fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The video also shows Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech and condemns Russia's racism.

    In the previous version of the video, Emperor Showa's photo appeared 1 minute and 11 to 14 seconds after it started, where the subtitles read, "Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945," along with Hitler and Mussolini's images.

    The original video was posted on April 1 and had been going viral since April 23, drawing mounting criticism online and elsewhere. One person critical of the footage posted a comment saying, "It equated Emperor Showa with Hitler."

    In response, the Ukrainian government tweeted, "Our sincere apologies for making a mistake in the previous version of the video. We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan." It has accordingly taken down Emperor Showa's photo from the footage.

    Masahisa Sato, director of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Foreign Affairs Division, revealed on April 24 on his Twitter account that he had filed a request with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take action over the footage. Sato subsequently tweeted, "The Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with the Ukrainian government and demanded it be deleted. It seems the footage in question has been removed."

    At a press conference on April 25, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki commented, "It is utterly inappropriate to treat Emperor Showa in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini. It's extremely regrettable."

    In regard to Japan's support for Ukraine following Russia's invasion, Isozaki remarked, "We'd like to stand with and continue supporting the Ukrainian people who face difficulties."

    (Japanese original by Moe Yamamoto, Digital News Center, and Nozomi Gemma, Political News Department)

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