Shinzo Abe Killed Over Japanese COVID Policies? No, Viral Claim Lacks Evidence – Newschecker



Following the death of the former- Japanese PM Shinzo Abe last week, a slew of theories surfaced online claiming to unravel the motive behind the murder of Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister. Social media users claimed that Abe was shot dead for disobeying World Economic Forum’s directions on COVID. Newschecker found no evidence to substantiate the same.

Several Twitter and Facebook users shared an image with the text, “Assassinated Japanese P.M. didn’t follow WEF orders. Didn’t mandate vaccines, sent 1.6 million doses back and gave citizens ivermectin. Make sense now.”

Shinzo Abe Killed Over Japanese COVID Policies? No, Viral Claim Lacks Evidence
Screenshot of Tweet by @Trumpin2024_
Screenshot of Tweet by @pplatesrgrate
Screenshot of Facebook post by @leonard.tucker.714
Screenshot of Facebook post by @sara.pamplona.921

Find links to such posts here, here, here and here.

Abe was shot while delivering a speech in Nara city on July 8 and was declared dead later that day. The security official at the scene took the suspect Tetsuya Yamagami into custody and he has reportedly confessed to the crime. The incident sent shock waves around the world, with senior leaders mourning the loss of one of the most influential Japanese leaders.

Also Read: US Comedian Sam Hyde’s Images Presented As Shinzo Abe’s Assassin

Fact Check/Verification

A keyword search for “Shinzo Abe Murder Motive” on Google led us to CNN report which stated that according to police, the suspect accused of assassinating former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a “grudge” against a church he believed Abe had ties with.

Screenshot of CNN website

Further, we found a report by The Guardian, dated July 11, 2022, with the title “Shinzo Abe killing: ‘Moonies’ church confirms suspect’s mother is member.”  As per the report, Tetsuya Yamagami (accused in Abe’s murder)  told investigators that he had initially intended to target the organisation’s leader, but that he had also intended to kill Abe, whom he claimed had promoted the church in Japan. He said his mother had made a “huge donation” to the church more than 20 years ago that had crippled the family’s finances. The report added, “Police have confirmed that Yamagami held a grudge against a specific organisation, but have not named it.”

Screenshot of The Guardian website

Several news outlets have reported that Yamagami allegedly killed Abe as he believed that the former Japanese PM had a role in promoting a particular religious group, which the accused claims, crippled his family’s funds. The reports have also denied that the shooting was politically motivated. You can read reports here, here and here.

We scanned several news reports on Abe’s death but did not find any mention on covid policies of Japan as the cause of the fatal shooting.

Is Vaccination Mandatory In Japan?

Next, we looked up the vaccination policy of the country and conducted a keyword search for “Japan covid vaccine compulsory” which led us to the official website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan. It clarified that the vaccine is indeed not mandatory, although the government encourages “all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.”

Screenshot of website of Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan

Notably, 81% of the Japanese population was fully vaccinated against covid, 82% received at least one dose, while 64% was vaccinated an additional dose as per the New York Times’ Coronavirus Vaccination Tracker, updated on July 11, 2022. This indicates that a large section of the Japanese population did in fact get vaccinated against covid.

Screenshot from the NYT website

In August 2021, Japan suspended the use of around1.63 million doses of covid vaccine by Moderna. However, this move came after the  discovery of foreign materials in one batch and not from any anti-vaccination sentiment. Notably, PM  Yoshihide Suga had said, “I’ve received a report from the health ministry saying that it will not have a big impact.”

Several other news outlets had also reported on the same. You can read them here, here and here.

Notably, Japan launched the inoculation drive against covid in February 2021 and the decision to suspend 1.63 million Moderna vaccines over contamination fears was taken in August 2021. Both these decisions were taken under the leadership of PM Yoshihide Suga and not Abe, who had retired in December 2020.

Did Abe give citizens Ivermectin?

We looked up the official website of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), a Japanese medicine regulatory agency, to ascertain the drugs approved for treating coronavirus in the country. Notably, Ivermectin was not listed in the same. 

The same claim did the rounds on social media platforms in 2021 as well. Newschecker had debunked the same on November 26, 2021. Read our full fact check here.

Conclusion

We did not find any evidence to substantiate that Japanese policies on covid led to the killing of former Japan PM Shinzo Abe.


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