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Isn't This a Bizarre, Untimely Choice, Nintendo?

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Nintendo's 3D television service "Itsu no Ma ni Terebi" went live today in Japan. The service is light on actual 3D programs, and it might disappoint some. Others, it will make uncomfortable, but not for the reason you'd think.

It's no secret, 3D gaming and the 3DS and me do not mix. That's fine. Nintendo allows people like me to switch off the 3D effect and still enjoy the 3DS, which I have been doing. The 3D television experience is far more comfortable— probably because you can leave the 3DS in one place, kick back, and don't have to worry if pressing a button will knock you out of the sweetspot needed to create the 3D effect. This article is not about this. It's about a nuclear disaster, a bailout, and a building.


Nintendo uploaded a handful of 3D clips today; they're on the short side. The service isn't TV per se, but television clips—about 2 minutes and 20 seconds each, with 20 seconds being a commercial. Sometimes the commercials are stuck at the end, sometimes in the middle. They're what keep the service free, and I'm fine with that.

The selection of the clips is a fair mix: From sumo wrestling idols to magic tricks. It's typical crap you'd see on Japanese television, so no surprises seeing it on the 3DS. But one choice comes off as odd—slightly out of touch, even.


In the "Unexpectedly Selected Train View 3D", 3DS owners get a front and center view from a Tokyo Yurikamome train. As the train makes its way between stations in the 2 minute and 30 second clip, only two buildings are shown and labelled on-screen: a Tokyo Gas building and the TEPCO Toyosu Building.

TEPCO owns and operates the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

A recent poll revealed that eighty percent of Japanese do not trust TEPCO or believe what the company says about the Fukushima nuclear crisis. People are upset that the government is going to bail out TEPCO, which has a checkered history of safety at its nuclear plants. And just yesterday, TEPCO stock was relegated to "junk" status. Yet here, one of only two shown, is a TEPCO building!


Seeing it feels out of step and out of touch. Out of all the train lines, out of all the buildings in Japan, why this, why now.