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LinkAsia | Mar 11
March 11th marks two years since Japan's devastating triple disaster of a massive earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that left 20,000 people...
Now anti-nuclear activists are turning to satire, tweeting under handles like Pluto-kun, or plutonium boy. Rebecca Milner follows these rogue tweeters in Tokyo.
Anti-nuclear activists in Japan have been crying foul about the so-called "nuclear safety myth" promoted by the local nuclear industry.
Here's an example of what they're talking about.
This is "Pluto-kun" - the pluto is short for plutonium and the 'kun' is the Japanese diminutive for boy. This animated character was created by a Japanese nuclear research organization. It was part of a campaign in the early 90s to reassure a wary public that the introduction of plutonium into the nuclear power system was nothing to worry about. In the video, Pluto-kun explains: "I don't dissolve easily in water so I won't really get absorbed in your stomach. I'll mostly come out of your body, so I don't really have the power to kill people."
Following the March 11th disaster, a number of these old Pluto-kun videos found their way onto Youtube, attracting tens of thousands of viewers.
Now a new Pluto-kun, called plutokun_bot, has a Twitter account, but it looks more like a case of stolen identity.
Rather than trying to reassure people, this Pluto-kun tweets things like: "My alpha ray half-life is just 24,000 years!"
Referencing a report that thyroid abnormalities had been detected in 10 children evacuated from Fukushima, plutokun_bot tweets: "TEPCO-kun, there's something unusual going on with the children in Fukushima. What are you doing?"
These sarcastic messages have proved popular: plutokun_bot has over 50,000 followers.
And he's not the only animated character on Twitter these days talking about nuclear power. There's also Monju-kun a made up mascot for the Monju Nuclear Power Plant which had a disastrous leak and fire in 1995.
Monju-kun, who has 70,000 followers, tweets calls to action like: "What we ordinary people can do is induce the politicians and corporations to view the choices we want them to make as the sound ones. We can do this with our vote and our buying power."
Of course people are dying to know who are behind these subversive Twitter accounts, but for now, it reminds a mystery. In Tokyo, for Link Asia, this is Rebecca Milner.