The French president made the remarks at an election rally in Normandy to 5,000 supporters. Sarkozy was the first western leader to visit Japan after the atrocity, but records show he did not leave Tokyo.
“I went to Fukushima… and unlike Francois Hollande, I can tell you the disaster was caused by the 42-metre wave from a tsunami. Frankly, I don’t see the immediate risk of a tsunami in Alsace,” Sarkozy said.
Sarkozy’s rivals were quick to highlight the gaffe, calling his false claims unprecedented for a French presidential candidate.“This is the first time in the history of the French republic that a candidate has told of a voyage he never made,” Francois Hollande, Sarkozy’s main opponent, said.
Hollande is leading in the polls for the upcoming presidential election, due to take place later this month. This is not the first time Sarkozy has been ridiculed by his rivals. In 2010, he claimed he was in Berlin the day the wall came down in 1989.
On his Facebook page he wrote: “The night continued amid general enthusiasm. The reunion of the German people signaled the end of the Cold War and the start of a period of great liberty in Europe.” Records showed that Sarkozy was at a service in France commemorating the death of General de Gaulle.