Nuke agency likened radioactive fallout to ‘agitated wife’

Kyodo

The government entity in charge of nuclear research and development has dropped a page from its website after it triggered harsh criticism for comparing radioactive material with an “angry and agitated wife” quarrelling with her husband.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, an independent administrative institution located in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, admitted it used the comparison on the page that is no longer accessible.

According to a stored image of the page, the agency says it intends to provide easy-to-understand information to people, especially to women, since “a social survey has shown that women have a lower level of understanding of and satisfaction with basic information concerning nuclear power.”

It goes on to attempt to explain the difference between radioactive material, radioactivity and radiation by comparing them to a wife and her behavior in a marital squabble, noting that “these words are often heard, but an unexpectedly large number of people don’t clearly know the difference.”

“This time, we have tried to replace these words by adopting the perspective of a woman (housewife,)” it says, and provides an illustration of a woman raising her fist and screaming to her husband next to her.

Captions next to the image say the wife’s scream can be compared to radiation, her agitated state to radioactivity and the wife herself to radioactive material.

The page has been criticized on the Internet as gross discrimination against women. Its content was switched to “under construction” Monday morning.

“It seems (the previous content of the page) was created before the Great East Japan Earthquake last year, but we don’t know exactly when,” an agency official said. “We are currently inquiring (to learn) how it was created.”