COVID-19: Did Japan Offer India All Medals In Exchange For Not Participating In Olympics?

Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga did not offer to give India all the medals at the Tokyo Olympics if they do not attend due to COVID-19 pandemic.

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on social media that claims it shows Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga offering to give India all the medals at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics if they do not attend. The claim is false: the subtitles in the clip are fabricated. The footage shows Suga giving a speech that did not reference the Tokyo Olympics. AFP found no evidence he made the purported comments.

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The video was published here on Facebook on June 7, 2021. It has been viewed more than 15,000 times.


A screenshot, taken on June 22, 2021, of the misleading post.

The post's Chinese-language caption reads: "India: We're ready to go to the Tokyo Olympics at any time. Japan: As long as you don't come, all the medals will be given to you."

The video begins with a clip of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering his speech.

The video's Chinese-language subtitles read: "We, India, are fully prepared for the Tokyo Olympics. We are ready to go to Tokyo anytime to participate in the Olympics."

The video then cuts to a clip of Suga giving a speech.

The Chinese-language subtitles read: "I've heard that Modi has talked wildly. So, I am here to tell Modi that as long as you don't come, I solemnly promise that all of the Olympic medals will be yours. They will be sent to you with free shipping, and we will acknowledge you as the first-place winner."

The Tokyo Olympics -- which was postponed for one year due to the pandemic -- is due to start on July 23, 2021.

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Users misled

Comments from some Facebook users on the post indicated they believed the video was genuine.

"Modi has no good intention! He deliberately spread the Indian COVID-19 variant to the world," one Facebook user commented.

Another wrote: "What qualifications does Japan have to announce who is the Olympic champion? The highest decision-maker should be the athletes on the world Olympic field."


A screenshot, taken on June 22, 2021 of a selection of comments under the misleading Facebook post.

The post circulated online after the Indian government announced it would prepare for the Tokyo Olympics despite its COVID-19 situation.

To minimise infection risks, Tokyo Olympics organisers have said they require countries that have experienced "substantial effect" from COVID-19 variants -- including India -- to implement additional protection measures.

The same video was also shared alongside a similar claim on Chinese social media platforms Weibo here; and on Douyin here, and here.

The claim is false -- the subtitles are fabricated and do not match Suga or Modi's actual speeches.

Modi's comments

A reverse image search on Google found the original video showing Modi's speech was published here.

It was uploaded on The International Institute for Strategic Studies' YouTube channel on June 1, 2018.

The Chinese subtitles do not correspond with Modi's actual speech in the video.

The original clip shows Modi discussing India's foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific area.

The corresponding section appears at the IISS video's 24-minute 29-second mark.

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Speaking about India and China, Modi can be heard saying: "We are the world's two most populous countries and among the fastest-growing major economies".

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misleading video (L) and the YouTube video published by the IISS (R):


A screenshot comparison of the misleading video and the YouTube video.

Suga's speech

A reverse image search on Google found the same video of Suga published here on October 26, 2020.

It was streamed by Japanese news organisation Fuji News Network.

It was titled: "House of Representatives plenary session Prime Minister Suga's first policy statement".

The Chinese subtitles also do not correspond with Suga's actual speech in the video.

In reality, he was giving a policy speech in which he discussed the relationship between Japan and China.

The clip in the misleading video corresponds with the FNN's video from the 21-minute 39-second mark.

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At this point in the clip, Suga's comments translate to English as: "A stable relationship with China is extremely important not only for the two countries but also for the region and the international community.

"Japan will continue to claim what it should claim at a high level and work together with China to address common challenges".

A transcript of the speech was published here in Japanese and here in English on the Japanese prime minister's website.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misleading video (L) and the FNN video (R):


A screenshot comparison of the misleading video and the FNN video.

AFP found no credible reports that Suga offered to give India all the medals at the Tokyo Olympics if they promised not to attend.

The same misleading video was also debunked by Hong Kong fact-checking organisation Annie Lab here.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by BOOM staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Updated On: 2021-06-25T20:02:14+05:30
Claim Review :   Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga offered to give India all the medals at the Tokyo Olympics if they do not attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claimed By :  Posts on Facebook, Weibo and Douyin.
Fact Check :  False
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