False: The video shows an earthquake that struck Hokkaido, Japan, on February 25, 2023.

By: Ankita Kulkarni
March 1 2023

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False: The video shows an earthquake that struck Hokkaido, Japan, on February 25, 2023.


The Verdict False

An old video showing the 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake has been falsely attributed to the recent quake that struck Hokkaido on February 25, 2023.

Claim ID 5dac9253


An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck the eastern part of Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on February 25, 2023. Reuters reported that the authorities issued no tsunami warning, and there was no record of immediate injuries or damages. It added that according to the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED), the earthquake occurred near the Nemuro peninsula at a depth of 61 kilometers. Following this, #JapanEarthquake began trending on Twitter.

One post on Twitter included a video of 1:44 minutes taken in what appears to be an airport restaurant. In the footage, tables and plates shake as paintings and signs fall off the walls. The post has 52,100 views, and the caption reads, "Magnitude 6.1 earthquake shakes Japan's Hokkaido: USGS #JapanEarthquake." However, the video predates the recent earthquake in Japan and has been miscaptioned.  

In Fact

Logically found that the clip shows an earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. The viral video has a watermark that says "ANN News" at the top left corner. We searched for the original video on the official YouTube channel of ANN News and found a longer version of the clip shared on January 17, 2020. The description read, "Tsunami, Great East Japan Earthquake, Sendai airport, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan [11 Mar 2011]."

Subsequently, on reverse image searching the keyframes of the clip, we found the same video shared on an Iranian video-sharing service, Aparat, on April 17, 2019. The caption reads, "One of the most terrible natural disasters that occurred in the last decade was the 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan."

The exact video was also uploaded to YouTube Shorts with the caption, "Japan Earthquake 9.1 Magnitude." Furthermore, a report by the U.S. National Center For Environmental Information notes that the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake was one of the deadliest to hit the northeast coast of Honshu on the Japan Trench. It is generally called the "Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami," which resulted in over 18,000 deaths and many injured. 

The Verdict

The viral clip shows the tremors felt during the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, Japan, which has been incorrectly associated with the February 2023 earthquake in Hokkaido, Japan. Therefore, we have marked this 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