TOKYO (majirox news) — Tens of thousands of comments have flooded Japanese websites during the past week concerning Belgian soccer fans’ taunts of Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima by associating him with the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The Lierse SK goalkeeper Kawashima left the pitch in tears following a 1-1 draw with Germinal Beerschot after the Belgian First Division game had been stopped after a projectile was thrown at him and jeers made regarding Fukushima.
Kawashima later posted a message on his blog saying that the teasing was unforgivable.
“I can forgive other things, but sayin, ‘Fukushima’ goes beyond a joke,’” the Japan international wrote on his blog, adding that many of his Belgian teammates later apologized to him over the crowd’s behavior.
Net activity in Japan in the days following the Aug. 20 match focused on whether Kawashima was right to react the way he did, with most sympathetic to his stance, but some claiming he was being too thin-skinned.
Fukushima Minpo, a local newspaper published in Fukushima, noted that European soccer fans are famous for their bad behavior, adding that misdeeds are often worse when people gather in groups.
An editorial in the local daily noted that Fukushima was a victim of the March 11 disasters that triggered the nuclear crisis, but the outside world had “taken a severe view” in light of Japan’s failure to provide appropriate information and releasing radioactive water into the sea without prior notice.
“Fukushima is undeniably a victim,” the Aug. 22 editorial said. “But we also need to take a calm think. Is it also an unwitting perpetrator? We must do this to avoid inviting further unhappiness.”