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HomeFact CheckFact Check: Old Visuals Falsely Linked To Recent Earthquake In Japan

Fact Check: Old Visuals Falsely Linked To Recent Earthquake In Japan

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Hokkaido in northern Japan on Saturday night, prompting social media users to share unverified videos and images purportedly showing the impact and aftermath of the recent quake in the Asian country. Newschecker investigated two such visuals, and found them to be unrelated to the recent earthquake in Japan.

Claim 1: Visuals Showing Intensity Of Recent Earthquake In Japan

A video featuring three clips edited together showing skyscrapers and an airfield shaking under the impact of tremors is doing the rounds on Twitter, with users sharing it to the intensity of the recent earthquake in Japan. Hindi news outlets News Nation also aired snippets of the viral video while reporting on the recent quake in Hokkaido. Newschecker found the visuals to be from the March 2022 earthquake that struck below the sea off the coast of Fukushima.

Archived versions of such posts can be seen here, here, here, here and here.

Fact Check/Verification

On analysing the viral footage, we spotted some text on the top right corner of the screen. A Google translation of the same read, “Fukushima 16th 11:36 pm.” Taking a clue, we looked up “Fukushima,” “earthquake” & “16” on Google, which yielded several reports from March 2022 elaborating on a 7.4 magnitude quake that hit the coast of the Fukushima region at a depth of 60km.

Screengrab from viral video | Courtesy: Twitter @NewsCoreIndia

Following this, we conducted a keyword search for “Japan,” “Fukushima,” “Earthquake” & “March 2022” on YouTube which led us to a video by Disaster Compilations, dated March 17, 2022.

Earthquake In Japan
Screengrab from YouTube video by Disaster Compilations

It featured two out of the three clips seen in the viral footage, and elaborated, “A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Japan…, cutting power to millions of homes and leading to a tsunami advisory being issued around the Fukushima prefecture…”

(L-R) Screengrabs from viral video and screengrabs from YouTube video by Disaster Compilations

It also yielded a video by The Guardian, dated March 17, 2022. Carrying a series of earthquake footage, including the three clips seen in the viral video, it stated, “A bright ‘earthquake light’ illuminated the sky over the northern Japanese city of Sendai during a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck below the sea off the coast of Fukushima.”

(L-R) Screengrabs from viral video and screengrabs from YouTube video by The Guardian

Further, we noticed the logo of NHK News Web,  a Japan based outlet, in the last frame of the viral footage, and looked up the keyword “ Fukushima “ in Japanese on its official Twitter handle (@nhk_news). This threw up a tweet dated, March 16, 2022, carrying the viral video with the caption, “Seismic intensity 6 upper in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures” (translated from Japanese using Google)

Screengrab from tweet by @nhk_news)

Hence, a video showing the earthquake in Japan’s Fukushima in March 2022 is being shared in a false context.

In addition to the above debunked video, another footage claiming to show the visuals from inside of a restaurant trembling under the impact of the recent earthquake in Japan is doing the rounds on Twitter. Notably, the same video went viral earlier this month to purportedly showing visuals from Turkiye earthquake. Newschecker had investigated the video back then, and found it to be from Japan’s Sandai airport, recorded during the 2011 earthquake. You can read our fact check here.

Also Read: Old Videos From Nepal, Turkiye Falsely Linked To Recent Earthquake In Tajikistan

Claim 2: Image Shows Aftermath Of Recent Earthquake In Japan

An image showing multiple dilapidated buildings/houses is going viral on social media platforms, with users linking the photograph to the recent earthquake in Japan. Newschecker found that though the image is from Japan, it does not show the aftermath of the recent earthquake and can be traced back to April 2016.

Archived versions of such tweets can be seen here, here, here and here.

Fact Check/Verification

A Google reverse image search on the viral photograph led us to a report by CNN, dated April 18, 2016, titled ‘Japan earthquakes: Dozens dead; aftershocks slow rescue efforts.’

Screengrabs from CNN website

The report featured a series of photographs showing the impact of the quake, including the viral image which was captioned “Damaged houses are seen after an earthquake in Mashiki.”

A report published in India Today carried the viral photograph with the caption, “Damaged houses sit after an earthquake in Mashiki, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan Saturday, April 16, 2016…

Screengrab from India Today website

A slightly different version of the viral image was also carried by BBC and The Guardian in their reports on the April 2016 earthquake in Japan’s Kumamoto.

Hence, a 2016 image showing damaged houses in Japan’s  Mashiki after an earthquake is falsely being linked to the recent trembler in the country.

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that old visuals are being falsely shared to show the impact and aftermath of the recent earthquake in Japan.

Result: False

Sources

YouTube Video By Disaster Compilations, Dated March 17, 2022
YouTube Video By The Guardian, Dated March 17, 2022
Tweet By @nhk_news, Dated March 16, 2022
Report By CNN, Dated April 18, 2016
Report Published In India Today, Dated April 16, 2016
Self Analysis


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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