Ukraine Apologizes to Japan Over Pic of WWII Emperor

Video tweeted out by Ukraine government account showed Hirohito's photo next to Hitler, Mussolini
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2022 10:20 AM CDT
Ukraine Apologizes to Japan Over Pic of WWII Emperor
Japan's Emperor Hirohito poses for a photograph in September 1967.   (AP Photo)

Ukraine has a brand-new word—"ruscism," roughly translated as "Russian fascism"—to describe what's happening now within its war-torn borders. But its thoughts on defeating fascism went a little awry over the weekend, after a government account tweeted a video that compared Japan's Emperor Hirohito to two other World War II-era leaders, Hitler and Mussolini, per the South China Morning Post. View the current incarnation of the video—which describes "ruscism" as a combo of autocracy, repression, Stalinism, and totalitarianism, all at the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin—and toward the end you'll see photos of Hitler and Mussolini, accompanied by the words: "Fascism and Nazism were defeated in 1945."

The original video, however, which the Mainichi notes was posted on April 1, included Hirohito's photo next to Hitler's and Mussolini's—drawing backlash from Japanese officials after it went viral. Masahisa Sato, a member of Japan's parliament, called it a "problem video" and demanded action from the European Affairs Bureau of Japan's Foreign Affairs Ministry. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki called the video "extremely regrettable" and "completely inappropriate," per the AP, which notes that "historical evaluations of [Hirohito's] role in the war remain divided."

Ukraine's government took Hirohito's photo out of the video and is now saying sorry after the pushback from Japan, which has given $300 million to help Ukraine and other nations assisting its refugees. "Our sincere apologies for making a mistake in the previous version of the video," the nation's official Twitter account posted Sunday. "We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan." Isozaki says Japan will continue to support Ukraine, despite the offending post. (More Ukraine stories.)

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