NAGOYA (majirox news) — Regional network TV Tokai apologized Aug. 4 after it broadcast a caption calling a prize of the national staple from Iwate prefecture “risky rice, made with cesium” and “contaminated rice, made with cesium.”
“We have caused a tremendous nuisance for everyone who has been harmed by the nuclear reactor accident, starting with Fukushima prefecture and the farmers from Iwate prefecture,” a TV Tokai spokesman said. “We also caused discomfort for viewers. We deeply apologize.”
Iwate Prefectural Government officials had been quick to protest the message, which had broadcast for almost 30 seconds just after 11 a.m.
“There is no concern that rice on sale from Iwate prefecture is contaminated, but this sort of thing can lead to spreading bad rumors, so we called TV Tokai just after 1 p.m.,” an Iwate spokesman said. “We passed on our concerns and an official complaint from the prefecture.”
TV Tokai said the captions had been part of a mock-up that network staff had produced with the intention of changing the contents when broadcasting, but inadvertently neglected to do so before showing them on screen.
“Even though it wasn’t intended, they were extremely unkind expressions,” the TV Tokai statement said.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis has spewed out higher than normal levels of radioactive cesium-137. Large doses of the substance can be fatal, while smaller doses increase the risk of cancer and infertility.