Ukraine was in the defensive Sunday after posting a video comparing Japan's WWII-era Emperor Hirohito to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini.
Japan said that it will continue to support Ukraine against Russia despite the blunder. The country has already provided $300 million to Ukraine and neighboring countries as a result of an influx of refugees.
All three leaders were a part of an alliance during WWII, but some in Japan were quick to point out the lack of historical context the video provided relating to Hirohito's role in the war and his significance in Japan. Japan knows him as Emperor Showa and he was regarded as a god until he renounced his divinity after defeat.
The video shows the emperor and the two other leaders, for a moment, with the phrase Nazi and Fascist in 1945. After protests from Japan, Ukraine's Twitter account took down the video and took out Hirohito's picture alongside Hitler and Mussolini.
Hirohito ruled Japan from 1926 until his death in 1989. His role in Japan's military efforts with the Axis powers has remained controversial and ambiguous, as many thought Hirohito was more of a figurehead that lacked political power.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told reporters that portraying Hitler, Mussolini and Emperor Showa Hirohito in the same context is completely inappropriate. It was extremely regrettable. Ukraine's social media and PR work has been heralded throughout the invasion and continued war, but this incident has caused outrage on social media.
Ukraine apologized on Sunday, saying they had no intentions of offending the people of Japan with the comparison. Some say that Japan still needs to reckon with its actions in World War II, which includes war crimes in China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Japan is a member of the Group of Seven and has an important role in East Asia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many fear that the invasion will cause China to invade Taiwan, fears that have been stoked more recently.