Japanese net users upset over the power company’s use of a slang term commonly found in anime.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as TEPCO for short, has found itself under fire yet again. The company first became infamous following their questionable handling of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, for which it served as operator following the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Late last month TEPCO tweeted a photo of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Reactor’s fuel pool along with the controversial hashtag #PlantMoe (#KojoMoe/#工場萌え), meant to evoke a love for the scenery of industrial power plants or factories. Readers may recognize the term moe from its common use in manga, anime, and video games to signify a style and/or passionate love for exceedingly cute characters.

With that in mind, it was probably not the best choice of words to describe one of Japan’s worst disasters in recent history. Following the backlash of online reactions to the hashtag, the company subsequently deleted the tweet and reuploaded a new version.

▼ TEPCO’s formal apology.
(Translation below)


We are terribly sorry for our lack of consideration to everyone through the recent tweet in our account. We deeply apologize.

This post has been reuploaded to replace the previous one which contained an inappropriate keyword. We have taken your reactions into serious account and will pay closer attention to our online activity in the future.”

▼ The new version of the photo, minus the hashtag.

Given the serious nature of the 2011 disasters, and the fact that a large portion of Fukushima residents are still displaced from their homes near the nuclear plant seven years later, it’s no wonder that net users found the slang term to be in poor taste when coupled with this photo.

TEPCO’s official Twitter account even features a formal apology for the 2011 debacle in the very first line of their profile description, so they probably should have known better.

On top of that, TEPCO reported in late September that they had detected more than 20,000 times the regular emissions standard of radioactive materials in a section of a contaminated water tank that they subsequently purified on the plant’s premises. Perhaps whoever is in charge of the company’s Twitter account should take care to treat anything relating to 3/11 with more gravity.

Sources: Twitter/@OfficialTEPCO, Asahi Shimbun
Featured image: Twitter/@OfficialTEPCO
[ Read in Japanese ]