Zhao Lijian’s tweet causes trouble again Japanese Foreign Minister raises “serious protest”

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshichika Mogi told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on April 28 that he “lodged a serious protest with China” over a tweet by Zhao Lijian, deputy director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, with a painting simulating Katsushika Hokusai’s ukiyo-e, satirizing the discharge of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Shigeki said, “Such ill-considered tweets should not appear.”

Japan’s Foreign Ministry also confirmed that the Japanese side had protested to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels between Tokyo and Beijing and asked Zhao Lijian to delete the post.

It is reported that Zhao Lijian used a satirical painting created by a Chinese illustrator after Katsushika Hokusai’s masterpiece “Thirty-six Views of Toyake Kanagawa Surfing Lane”. The painting depicts people in protective clothing pouring liquid from a boat with a bucket, with the caption, “If Katsushika Hokusai were alive now, he would also be very worried about the nuclear sewage problem.

At a regular press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Zhao Lijian was asked whether his tweet represented the official Chinese position and whether he would delete the post and apologize. Zhao Lijian said his tweet “represents China’s official position” and that the tweet had been topped. Zhao Lijian said, “It is the Japanese government that needs to reverse its wrong decision and apologize.

Zhao Lijian’s tweets are not the first time that an official Chinese spokesman has caused a diplomatic storm. After the Australian government faced strong retaliation from China last year for publicly calling for an independent international investigation into the origins of the New Coronavirus, Zhao Lijian tweeted a false image on Nov. 30 that ridiculed the indiscriminate killing of civilians by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. The move provoked a public outcry in Australia, and relations between the two countries hit a low point.