False: Al Jazeera reports “deer on the street of Tokyo amid the lockdown”

Al Jazeera, a Qatari-state funded international broadcaster,  posted a video on Facebook titled “Animals are taking advantage of the quiet, empty spaces as humans are on lockdown during coronavirus” in which it included a short video showing a small herd of deer crossing an empty street which it identified being in Tokyo. The video begins with the subtitles “With humans under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus in cities across the world animals have been seen taking advantage of quiet empty spaces amid the pandemic” and then at one point shows a herd of deer strutting across a street in Japan with the caption identifying the location as Tokyo.

But this is false information because the video is from Nara, which is already famous for its deer. 

Upon closer verification of the Al Jazeera video, we found that the clip was taken off Twitter and originally filmed in Nara city on March 2nd, 2020. The Al Jazeera video used on part of the originally posted video. 

Nara is already famous for deer roaming Nara Park, and it is common knowledge that the deer migrate freely in herds around the city. Furthermore there were no restrictions on movement in Japan on March 2, 2020 and there has been no ‘lockdowns’ either even after April 7, when a state of emergency was declared.Thus, although there are fewer people and cars on the streets than before in Tokyo, this does not mean that people and cars have completely disappeared. And there have been no confirmed sightings or news of deer in Tokyo as of late.

The original fact-checking report in Japanese is here.

(Yoichiro Tateiwa)

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