Japan Fact-checks: Over-stretching the points in a statement

(Issued on JuLY 17, 2020)

Welcome to FIJ’s English FactChecks Report vol.9. This is a weekly report that comes in three parts consisting of Notable Case, Fact-checks at a glance, and Announcements & News. 

Notable Case

False: WHO changes course; No need to quarantine infected people 

(fact-checked by INFACT on July 15, 2020)

A twitter post purportedly showing that the WHO said that coronavirus patients require neither quarantine nor social distancing because “It cannot even transmit from one patient to another” was posted on July 4, and went viral, being retweeted over 2,800 times. This tweet introduced a tweet by American radio personality John B Wells in Japanese with a video of the WHO’s June 8th regular press conference.

In this video, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s director for COVID-19, tells the conference that “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.” There was no mention of not needing to “quarantine infected people”, “self-isolate” or “maintain social distancing.”

After Ms. Van Kerkhove’s remarks, some experts succeeded in pointing out that cases of infection from asymptomatic people are not necessarily rare.  Ms. Van Kerkhove actually then amended her statement the next day. The WHO still advises people to “maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others” and to “Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover” on its official website and it is clear that the WHO has not changed its views.

Therefore, the tweet claiming that the WHO has changed its views to that the “quarantine of infected people was unnecessary” is judged to be false.

The original fact-checking report in Japanese is here.

(Yoichiro Tateiwa, Rei Ofuna)

Fact-checks at a glance

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

  1. Fact-checked by: BOOM | India (July 08, 2020)

False: Satire cartoon clip on Narendra Modi vs Xi Jinping shown on Japanese TV

Explanation: A cartoon clip showing Chinese President Xi Jinping face-off against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lines of the popular kung fu film is being shared claiming that it was shown on Japanese television. The clip is actually from an Indian satirical news segment “So Sorry” that runs on the Hindi news channel “Aaj Tak” (India Today). It was not shown on Japanese television. The clip was viral with the misleading caption “This was shown on Japan TV.” and also shared in Japanese via Twitter and Youtube. 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

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

Hope you stay well,

FIJ English team.