Tokai Television Broadcasting Co Ltd has responded to the scandal caused by a joke about radioactive rice that appeared on one of its programs, "Pecan Television," on Aug 4. The program featured a segment in which a guest won rice grown in Iwate Prefecture. As the prize was awarded, the message "Beware, the rice could be radioactive" appeared on-screen for around 23 seconds, causing an outcry from viewers as well as rice growers in Iwate Prefecture.
Since the program was aired, it is believed that of the show's 20 sponsors, five backed out of their sponsorship deals and 12 requested that their commercials not be aired during the show anymore. A spokesperson for Tokai TV said the show received 15,000 complaints by phone and email between Aug 4 and 11.
Meanwhile, the company president, Sekiya Asano, held a news conference on Thursday night and announced that the show would be axed as a result of the joke, which he agreed had been in bad taste.
The network later released a statement saying that the director and producer of "Pecan Television" had been suspended for five days following the incident, and that Asano will receive a 50% pay cut for three months. Eight other members of staff involved in the making of the program are also to be disciplined, Tokai said.© Japan Today