Praising Kawashima's performance in Japan's 1-0 win over France in a friendly last Friday, Laurent Ruquier's wisecrack prompted laughter and applause in the studio.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Tuesday called Ruquier's remark, a reference to last year's nuclear crisis in Fukushima, "inappropriate".
He added that the Japanese Embassy in France had sent a letter of protest to the television station France 2.
The letter said the remark "hurts the feelings of people affected by the disaster and hinders efforts for reconstruction," Fujimura added.
The nuclear disaster was triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in March last year. More than 15,000 people died and almost 3,000 are still unaccounted for.
Japan's education minister Makiko Tanaka, whose portfolio also includes sport, was far from amused.
"If it's true (he said it) it is behaviour which lacks sensitivity," she said. "Many people were hurt in the nuclear crisis. I don't know how people can make fun of it."
- Laurent Ruquier
- Osamu Fujimura