A mascot launched by the Japanese government to coincide with its decision to release treated water from the inactive Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean has become the target of criticism by local residents, with many saying it is out of sync with the reality of the situation.

The Reconstruction Agency on Tuesday released a flyer and video on its website featuring the radioactive substance tritium as a cute character to dispel concerns about the government's decision, but they were removed Wednesday night following the criticism.

"Nuclear power plants are highly specialized and difficult to understand. We want many people to take an interest in them," said an agency official, adding the mascot would be redesigned in line with the views of the public.