- A South Korean broadcaster used the image of Chernobyl to depict Ukraine during the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
- Chernobyl was the site of a devastating nuclear accident in 1986.
- MBC has since apologized for the “inappropriate” photo.
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A South Korean TV network has apologized after using an image of the Chernobyl disaster to represent Ukraine during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
MBC displayed the photo as Team Ukraine filed into the National Stadium on Friday for the start of the Games.
Chernobyl was the site of a devastating nuclear accident in 1986.
The disaster caused 2 immediate deaths and 29 deaths from acute radiation sickness within the following three months. Environmental watchdog Greenpeace International, however, said in 2009 that more than 90,000 people are expected to die as a result of the spread of radioactive material caused by the explosion.
MBC also used a photo of civil unrest to depict Haiti during the ceremony, as well as pictures of national stereotypes to represent other nations.
It used photos of pizza to represent Italy, sushi for Japan, and salmon when introducing Norway.
“In today’s Opening Ceremony broadcast, inappropriate photos were used when introducing countries like Ukraine and Haiti,” MBC said in a statement.
“Also, inappropriate photos and subtitles were used for other countries. We apologize to those countries including Ukraine and our viewers.”
Friday’s ceremony was played out in front of an empty stadium due to COVID-19 protocols amid the pandemic.
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic flame to signify the official opening of the Games. The 23-year-old called it her “greatest athletic achievement.”