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The tweet also threatened to alienate some conservatives from the Ukrainian cause in a country that has been strongly supportive of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since the Russian invasion began.

An official Ukrainian government Twitter account issued an apology after showing a picture of Japan’s wartime Emperor Hirohito alongside Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in a social media video about the defeat of fascism.

“Our sincere apologies to Japan for making this mistake,” read a message on the Ukrainian twitter feed. “We had no intention to offend the friendly people of Japan.” An edited version of the video without Hirohito’s picture was appended to the post.

The tweet had circulated widely over the weekend and prompted an official protest from Japan. It also threatened to alienate some conservatives from the Ukrainian cause in a country that has been strongly supportive of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy since the Russian invasion began.

Japan has joined its ally the U.S. and other leading democracies in sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime and has broken with its pacifist tradition by sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. It has also taken the unusual step of opening its doors to a few hundred refugees fleeing the war.

Masahisa Sato, the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s foreign policy panel, said Sunday on Twitter that he had urged the Foreign Ministry to protest to the Ukrainian government. He later added the ministry appeared to have done so, and the “problematic” video was removed.

While some Twitter users said they had lost interest in supporting Ukraine over the post, others said it would have been more appropriate to use a picture of Hideki Tojo, who was prime minister of Japan during most of World War II and later hanged as a convicted war criminal.

 

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