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Japanese officials Wednesday described U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings' comment about the atomic bombing of Japan as in poor taste but said they did not think the remark represents the feelings of most Americans.

Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, told a group of workers in his home state on Monday that they "should draw a mushroom cloud and put underneath it: `Made in America by lazy and illiterate workers and tested in Japan.' "The senator called his remark a joke and said his point was to criticize recent comments by Japanese politicians that American workers are lazy and lack a work ethic.

Chief government spokesman Koichi Kato said Wednesday that he did not think Hollings was speaking for most Americans, and added: "A joke that uses the atom bomb cannot be said to be a good joke."

An article in Yomiuri, Japan's largest-circulation newspaper, carried the headline: "Is (the U.S.) Countering the `Laziness Remark' With an Atomic Bomb!? Senator Makes an Irrelevant Statement."