A Japanese advert that portrays Barack Obama as a monkey has outraged Web users. But is it really racist? Maybe not in Japan...
UPDATE (30 June 2008 3pm): Chairman of the telecoms company, Sachio Semmoto, has informed Reuters that E-Mobile has now withdrawn the advertisement on TV, although he denied accusations of racism; saying that the macaque had already been used in several other of their campaigns. He said that he recognised sensitivities with the African-American/ Japanese relationship. He also said that Obama's candidacy is an opportunity for the US and that such a candidate could be beneficial for Japan.
NEW UPDATE (9 July 2008 10.30am): One of our readers has informed us that although the television adverts have been pulled, the campaign is still being circulated in print form. We have verified this with news sources.
The advert is a promotion for changes being made at the Japanese phone company E Mobile.
James comments on JapanProbe, a blog run by a group of expats:
Taken completely out of context by foreigners, this commercial will appear racist. I expect that e-mobile will be getting letters of complaint and phone calls from angry people who assumed this commercial was making an offensive racial joke, and I wouldn't be surprised if e-mobile reacts by pulling the ad."
From Black Tokyo, a blog run by an afro-American living in Japan: