Video shows 2011 tsunami in Japan, not recent events

2 January 2024
What was claimed

A video shows a tsunami in Japan following the earthquake on 1 January 2024.

Our verdict

The footage actually shows a tsunami in a different part of Japan in 2011.

Posts circulating online falsely imply a video shows a tsunami in Japan caused by an earthquake that hit the country yesterday (1 January 2024). 

The video shows boats and vehicles being carried by a large wave that spills over a road and into buildings. It has been shared across social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok, with the suggestion it shows a tsunami caused by the recent quake. 

One post has the caption: “First tsunami waves have hit Japan after a major earthquake measuring 7.4”.

Yesterday’s earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 and 55 people are reported to have been killed at the time of publication. 

However, this video does not show a recent event—it shows a tsunami in Japan in March 2011, caused by an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0. The same scene can be seen in similar images and footage shared by multiple media outlets at the time. 

Moreover, a signpost seen in the footage locates the scene near Miyako, which is in northeast Japan. Yesterday’s earthquake struck in the central region of Ishikawa, which is on the west coast. 

While a major tsunami warning was issued immediately after yesterday’s earthquake, there is reportedly no longer a risk of such an event. 

Miscaptioned videos are a common form of misinformation we see during natural disasters and significant global news events. Last year we wrote about claims that footage showed February’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria, August’s wildfires in Maui and both the earthquake in Morocco and floods in Libya in September. 

It’s always worth checking if social media images and videos are what they say they are before you share them. We’ve written a guide on how to verify videos here

Image courtesy of 提供元 : 岩手県宮古市

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