False: “A survey by LINE concludes Japan has 10 times more infected people than officially announced” spreading across China

Misleading information spreading across China on the Chinese mini-blog Weibo has claimed a survey conducted by the social network service LINE in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in early April on the novel coronavirus has resulted in revealing that the number of infected people in Japan is actually ten times higher than the published number. 

However this survey, which was conducted independently by LINE from March 27th through 30th revealed that 7.1 percent of the 63,483 respondents checked boxes corresponding to having symptoms that were similar to possible signs of COVID-19. However while the survey indicated the number of people with symptoms that could have possibly been COVID-19, it doesn’t correlate to the numbers of people actually infected. Furthermore, as the results of a survey of the “One Metropolis Three Prefectures” were calculated incorrectly against the official numbers of the Tokyo Metropolis area alone, and those percentages were applied to the population of Japan as a whole, the results can be said to have been reached rather carelessly. 

The original fact-checking report in Japanese is here.

(Ya Jung Chih)

INFACT is a member of the #CoronavirusFacts Alliance.

Our rating standard can be found here.