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Top U.S. diplomat to Japan slams NHK’s African-American depictions as ‘offensive’

TOKYO (TR) – Joseph M. Young, the interim U.S. Ambassador to Japan, took to Twitter on Tuesday to condemn depictions of African-Americans in a video that appeared online by public broadcaster NHK as “offensive.”

“While we understand @NHK’s intent to address complex racial issues in the United States, it’s unfortunate that more thought and care didn’t go into this video,” wrote Young. The caricatures used are offensive and insensitive.”

The animated clip was posted on Sunday on Twitter for the children’s program for “This Makes Me Understand! The World Now.” The full 37-minute program, which aired the same day, provided background on the ongoing protests in the U.S.

However, the 85-second clip is very narrow in scope and filled with stereotypes, focusing on angry African-Americans rioting in a street.

This depictions were met with an online backlash, which called them out as “gross” and “racist” among other things.

NHK on Tuesday issued an online apology over the clip and announced the removal of the clip. “After receiving a lot of criticism and opinions about the video on Twitter, we have removed it,” the statement read. “We would like to apologize for anyone offended by our lack of consideration. At NHK, we respect human rights. We will work on paying close attention to each step in the interviewing and production process.”

The full episode of “This Makes Me Understand!” targeted the widening divide between the political left and right in the U.S., police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. The aforementioned promotional clip was merely one segment within the episode.

In a subsequent tweet, Young, who became Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy Tokyo last year, recommended the “Talking About Race” exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Learning about racial justice and equality is a lifelong endeavor,” he wrote.