Japan says Muslim offense at cartoon ‘regrettable’

TOKYO —  The government said in a statement Friday that it is “regrettable” that a section of a Japanese cartoon has sparked an outcry in the Muslim world and stressed the need to foster understanding to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“While it resulted from carelessness, the Japanese government considers it regrettable that Muslims’ feelings were hurt by the content of some of the cartoon,” Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Kazuo Kodama said. “In any case, we think it is important to prevent a recurrence by fostering understanding and respect for other religions and cultures.”

The statement came a day after Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc and Another Push Pin Planning Co, which created the animated images, apologized for offending Muslims but insisted the detail had simply been overlooked and there was no intention of showing any disrespect for the Quran.

At issue is a 90-second segment from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”, which depicts Dio Brando, a villain, picking up a Quran from a bookshelf and apparently examining it as he orders the execution of the hero and his friends.

Japan Today, 24 May 2008