FUKUSHIMA, Japan – Fukushima Mayor Hiroshi Kohata has announced the city will promptly remove from a municipal facility a controversial statue of a child wearing what looks like a nuclear radiation suit, in response to public criticism that the statue gives the misperception that the city is contaminated.

At a press conference held Tuesday, the mayor also said, “I sincerely apologize to people who have been saddened or discomforted” by the statue.

The statue, named “Sun Child,” is a 20.3-foot-tall work created by artist Kenji Yanobe. It shows a little boy clad in what looks like a yellow nuclear radiation suit. An instrument for measuring radioactivity attached to his chest displays “000.”

The statue was installed in front of the Com-Com Children’s Creative Learning Center by the Fukushima city government. It was unveiled less than a month ago.

In explaining why the city decided to remove the statue, the mayor said, “We’ve judged that it is too difficult to continue to display such a controversial work as a symbol of the desire for reconstruction” from the damage caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster.

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