Mascot’s assigned task of “Child Abuse Promotion” went unnoticed for months.

The Tokyo Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health were left red-faced earlier this week after appearing to endorse the undeniably vile and unforgivable act of child abuse on their website.

In Japan pretty much everything is represented with a mascot of some sort, and child abuse prevention is no exception. Enter Osekkai-kun: a kind of mollusk or hermit crab billed as a “Child Abuse Prevention Promotion Character”

However, on Osekkai-kun’s introductory page someone forgot the crucial word “prevention,” resulting in Osekkai-kun’s new title of “Child Abuse Promotion Character.” According to the city, someone had pointed out the mistake on 11 June and they quickly corrected it that same day.

It is unclear whether Twitter user Waa Musuko ga Marusugiru (@nondakure) was that “someone” or not.

▼ “Tokyo, are you stupid?”

A few hours later that same Twitter user announced the correction.

▼ “Whew, thankfully it was safely corrected! Great! Let’s call it a day and start fresh tomorrow!”

The city also apologized for the mistake and reaffirmed its commitment to raising awareness towards the prevention of child abuse. They explained that the creation of the webpage was outsourced during a renovation in April. The site was then checked by an official, but clearly not carefully enough.

However, there is more to this tragic tale of poor wording. The character’s name of “Osekkai” struck some people as odd and prompted one Twitter user to look the word up in the Japanese dictionary with very surprising results:

▼ “OSEKKAI (noun): An instance of obtrusive meddling, or needlessly interfering in other people’s business.”

Now, the first mistake is really unlucky yet understandable, but the fact that their child abuse prevention mascot’s name is synonymous with “annoyingly sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong,” is really poor optics, and quite frankly getting suspicious.

Netizens were also at a loss over this cavalcade of inappropriate miscommunications.

“Eek, sure its an honest mistake, but of all the mistakes to make…”
“Yeah, is Osekkai really a good name here?”
“Tokyo… You’re tired. Go home.”

“I’m still unclear where Osekkai stands on all this.”
“Looks like Tokyo has got everything in order then.”
“That’s funny. It’s awful of course, but funny.”
“It reminds me of a poster that read, ‘Traffic Safety Prevention.’ I swear these people are on autopilot sometimes.”

If there’s one silver lining to this misadventure in web design, it’s that it is indirectly achieving the Bureau’s objective of raising awareness of the horrible problem of child abuse. So, in the true spirit of Social Welfare and Public Health, let’s all do our sincere best to be the most bothersome busybodies we can be and fight child abuse while also working to prevent child abuse promotion, accidental or otherwise.

Source: NHK News Web, Twitter/@nondakure, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@nondakure
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