Japan Fact-checks: The importance of data-driven verification

(Issued on June 5, 2020)

Welcome to FIJ’s third English FactChecks Report. This is a weekly report that comes in three parts consisting of Notable Case, Fact-checks at a glance, and Announcements & News. 

Notable Case

Inaccurate: Countries with more PCR tests have more deaths (fact-checked by INFACT on May 31, 2020)

At a press conference on May 4, Dr. Shigeru Omi, deputy chairman of the Japanese government expert panel on the Covid-19 response said that while the number of PCR tests in Japan were low, in nations with more PCR tests the number of deaths were higher. This statement, however, is false.

We looked at nine nations, notably South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Singapore, France, Japan, and Germany, and compared in four different ways the number of PCR tests against deaths, either per population or in their total numbers. But we could not find “more deaths in countries with more PCR tests” in any of the comparisons. 

It is unclear which index Dr. Omi used, as he did not specify, but the correlation between the number of PCR tests and the number of deaths from the new coronavirus is not strong, as far as the statistical data are concerned. Thus, Dr. Omi’s statement was rated to be “inaccurate.”

The original fact-checking report in Japanese is here.

(Yoichiro Tateiwa)

Fact-checks at a glance

We picked up the following fact-checks relating to Japan from overseas media.

  1. Fact-checked by: AFP Fact Check Malaysia | Malaysia (May 29, 2020) 

False: “the Japanese government is set to subsidise trips for foreign tourists visiting the country by up to half of the cost after it lifts its coronavirus lockdown. ”

Explanation: on May 27, 2020, the Japanese government clarified the plan will only apply to Japanese residents making domestic travel, adding the details of the policy are still being finalised. Read the full article here.

Check out the IFCN’s #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance database of 5,000+ fact-checks from more than 70 countries.

Announcements & News

As of June 1st we are providing articles to the U.S. edition of SmartNews. For further information please click here.

・We continues to welcome offers of factcheck collaboration.

・Please follow our English twitter account for the latest information! 

・For useful Japan-related information resources in English, check us out here.

Hope you stay well,

FIJ researchers team.