Old, unrelated visuals from Japan incorrectly linked to 2024 earthquake

By: Ankita Kulkarni
January 9 2024

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Old, unrelated visuals from Japan incorrectly linked to 2024 earthquake

Screenshot showing the viral post. (Source: Instagram/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The visuals in the viral post date back to at least 2011 and while they were captured in Japan, they are unrelated to the recent earthquake.

Claim ID 2054dca2

What is the claim?

A minute-long video, shared on Instagram (archived here) and dated January 3, 2024, has been circulating with the claim that it depicts the aftermath of a tsunami in Japan following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the country on January 1, 2024. The viral video comprises eight short clips, with the caption stating, “Tsunami in Japan 2024. #disaster #cataclysm #constantinolaru #remixreels #fyp?? #foryoupage." The text overlaid on the video reads, "Tsunami in Japan."

The earthquake caused extensive destruction in Japan, resulting in an estimated death toll of more than 160 and leaving dozens injured. Inclement weather conditions, including heavy rain and snow, reportedly hampered rescue operations, with over 2,000 people still cut off due to road damage. However, efforts are still underway to find survivors.

Screenshot of the viral post. (Source: Instagram/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, Logically Facts analyzed the keyframes of these visuals and determined that they predate the recent earthquake.

What are the facts?

A reverse image search conducted for each clip revealed that these visuals have been present on the internet since at least 2011.

Visuals 1 and 2

These two clips depict a river of mud sweeping through a residential area, destroying homes and utility poles. Logically Facts fact-checked these visuals, finding them to be from 2021, capturing a significant mudslide in Atami town, Japan, which swept away dozens of homes.

Comparison between the original video and the viral clip. (Source: Instagram/ YouTube/Screenshot)

Visuals 3, 6, and 8

The third clip in the viral post shows water overflowing from a water bank onto streets and residential areas, washing away several cars. The sixth and eighth clips show boats and yachts moving toward a bridge, subsequently being destroyed. However, these visuals are old and unrelated to the recent earthquake.

All three visuals are part of a video uploaded on YouTube by the channel “ANNnewsCH,” and the caption shared with the video states that they were filmed during the 2011 tsunami in Miyako City, Japan. The third clip appears from the 3:38 to 4:06-minute mark, the sixth from 4:43 to 4:59 minutes, and the eighth from 4:30 to 4:39 timestamps. 

Screenshot of the original video posted by ANNnewsCH. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)

Visuals 4 and 7

These two clips show water rushing through a building and an electric pole collapsing. The identical footage can be found in a YouTube video uploaded by British public broadcast Channel 4 News on March 17, 2011, titled “Tsunami video - Miyako City, Iwate.” The fourth clip appears from the 0:54 to 1:16-minute mark, and the seventh clip is visible as the video progresses further.

Screenshot of the original video posted by Channel 4 News. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)  

Visual 5

This clip displays a heavy flow of water on city streets. The original video was found on YouTube, posted by the channel “FNN311” on October 26, 2012. The video, captured on March 11, 2011, in Ishinomaki Miyagi City, Japan, features the visual at the 1:52-minute mark. 

Screenshot of the original video posted by FNN311. (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)  

Notably, all the visuals used in the viral post appear to be horizontally flipped and mirrored. Moreover, no severe tsunami was reported in Japan on January 1, 2024; the tsunami warning was downgraded to an advisory. Therefore, the evidence establishes that the viral visuals are old and unrelated to the recent earthquake in Japan. 

Logically Facts has previously debunked similar visuals misattributed to the 2024 Japan earthquake, which can be accessed here, here, and here.

The verdict

Old and unrelated visuals from 2011, 2012, and 2021 are being shared with an incorrect claim that they show a tsunami in Japan following the recent earthquake in the country. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before