Japan Fact-checks: Uncertain information spread by the mass media

(Issued on June 12, 2020)

Welcome to FIJ’s 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

Misleading: The novel coronavirus has an aversion for high temperatures, high humidity and ultraviolet rays (fact-checked by INFACT on June 12, 2020)

Professor Harue Okada of Hakuo University said on TV Asahi’s popular TV program  “Morning Show,” on May 19, 2010 that the new coronavirus is sensitive to high temperatures, high humidity and UV light, so it will come under control in the summer. However this claim is  misleading.

US President Trump, Science and technology advisor to the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) William Bryan, and a team of researchers from Beihang University have implied the possibility that hot and humid environments may deter its infection.

However, the WHO says “At this time, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in any climate, including areas with hot and humid weather.”  WHO has called for caution saying that  “There is no evidence that sunlight kills the new coronaviruses” and “You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.” Some papers support the WHO’s claim. In fact, even in the hot and humid Southeast Asia region, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine, the number of infected people has been on the increase. Prof. Shuko Miyashita, who is treating COVID-19 patients at Kansai Medical University Hospital, warned in an interview, “It is known that the known coronaviruses is weakened by high temperatures, high humidity and ultraviolet rays, but so far we are not sure about (its impact on) the new coronavirus.”

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: The Quint | India (June 3, 2020)

Fabrication: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said “If, in case China attacks India, then the end of China will begin. We are with India.”

Explanation: A postcard news image quoting world leaders on Indo-China tensions went viral. But we did not find any record of the statements made by the world leaders as mentioned in the viral image. Further, there are no reports of any calls being made by the said leaders to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, except US President Donald Trump. The Japanese government has not made any official statements on the India-China tensions. Read the full article here (English).

  1. Fact-checked by: VERA FILES | Philippines (June 3, 2020)

Misleading: “Japan said it’s ready to protect the Philippines against China.”

Explanation: Inaccurate on two instances: it skewed a statement made by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V in 2019, and misleadingly presented it as a recent development. What Laurel said in May last year was that Japan was ready to support the Philippines’ needs, “particularly in security,” citing the 10 coast guard ships and other defense assets it has pledged to Manila. He made no mention of Japan fighting off China. Read the full article here (English).

Check out the IFCN’s #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance database of 5,000+ fact-checks from more than 70 countries on the novel coronavirus. Other themes of factcheck can be found on each organization’s website.

Announcements & News

・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.