Japan to Battle False Information as Part of Disaster Measures; Government Eyes Use of Originator Profile Technology

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday.

False and misleading information about the Noto Peninsula Earthquake spread widely on social media earlier this month, prompting a government decision to support the development of technology that ensures information is reliable.

The government is apparently eyeing the use of new technologies such as Originator Profile, digital technology that specifies the sender of information.

A package of measures to support earthquake victims will be decided as early as Thursday. As a program related to that package, the government envisages conducting experiments using OP technology in cooperation with municipalities affected by the disaster.

OP can electronically attach third-party-authenticated information about senders to articles and other material on the internet. The Originator Profile Collaborative Innovation Partnership, which comprises 37 companies including domestic and foreign media, aims to put this technology into practical use in 2025.

The government intends to support the development of “technology to ensure the existence and reliability of senders,” so that the operators of social media platforms can identify misinformation.

The draft includes support for the development of technology to identify “deepfakes,” fake videos created with artificial intelligence.

False information was disseminated immediately after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, including posts on social media that called for rescue in fictitious places, and images of tsunami that appeared to have been created from video from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Erroneous claims were also circulated, for example the assertion that “disaster-affected people will have to pay their own expenses” if they leave affected areas and use secondary evacuation centers such as hotels and inns. The central government and the Ishikawa prefectural government were urged to counteract such information by explaining that survivors would not have to pay accommodation fees.