Weekly Fact-Check

Japan Fact-Checks, August 7: Deer Ailments and Taiwan Interviews


The August 7 edition of FactCheck Initiative Japan’s “English FactChecks Report” focused on false reports of herbicide-caused deer tumors and an NHK interview with Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s former president.

Fact-Checks at a Glance

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

1. False: Herbicide Caused Deer to Be Covered in Boils (Japan; fact-checked by InFact and PolitiFact on August 6, 2020)

Explanation: A photo posted on Twitter in Japanese on July 19 went viral for its claim that a deer in the United States was covered in tumors or boils all over its body after eating grass and trees sprayed with Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The photo had spread in the past in the United States and elsewhere, and PolitiFact conducted a fact check in 2019 and determined that the symptoms were caused by a virus common to deer in New York. The claims of the post were thus determined to be false. InFact translated the verified article with PolitiFact’s consent and has alerted its Japanese readers. Read the full article here (Japanese) and see PolitiFact’s coverage here (English).

2. False: NHK Shelved an Interview with Taiwan’s Former President Lee Teng-hui Five Years Ago (Japan; fact-checked by InFact on August 6, 2020)

Explanation: Taiwanese media reported that NHK had shelved an interview with Taiwan’s former president, Lee Teng-hui, filmed five years ago due to pressure from mainland China and only aired it after his death. However, NHK had actually aired a portion of the exclusive interview with Lee, carried out when he visited Japan in July 2015, on its BS1 satellite broadcast on July 30 of that year. Although it was not broadcast on NHK’s general terrestrial channel, it is not true that it was not broadcast at all and shelved. Read the full article here (Japanese/Chinese).

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(Originally published in English by FactCheck Initiative Japan; edited by Nippon.com.)

Taiwan pollution Lee Teng-hui