An official Ukrainian government Twitter account issued an apology after showing a picture of Japan’s wartime Emperor Hirohito alongside Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in a social media video about the defeat of fascism.
“Our sincere apologies to Japan for making this mistake,” read a message on the Ukrainian twitter feed.
“We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan.” An edited version of the video without Hirohito’s picture was appended to the post.
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 🇺🇦🇯🇵. In the new video above we have corrected the mistake. https://t.co/rB3RkR6V4k
— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) April 24, 2022
The tweet had circulated widely over the weekend and prompted an official protest from Japan. It also threatened to alienate some conservatives from the Ukrainian cause in a country that has been strongly supportive of President Volodymyr Zelensky since the Russian invasion began.
Japan has joined its ally the U.S. and other leading democracies in sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime and has broken with its pacifist tradition by sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. It has also taken the unusual step of opening its doors to a few hundred refugees fleeing the war.
The Japanese public has backed a tough line to punish the Kremlin for the invasion. A poll carried out by the Nikkei newspaper April 22-24 found 42% of respondents said Japan’s sanctions against Russia should be made harsher, while 44% said current sanctions were appropriate. More than 62% of respondents said they approved of the government’s overall handling of the war.