VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO BASIS for claim Japanese submarine chased off Chinese ships in South China Sea

April 1, 2023

A video shared on YouTube and Facebook (FB) claims that Chinese ships were chased off by a Japanese submarine in the South China Sea. This has no basis. 

In its introduction, a narrator stated:  

Sa kasalukuyan, ang China ay nagtamo ng matinding kahihiyan matapos silang habulin ng isang Japanese submarine. Ang insidente na ito ay naganap sa karagatan ng Timog China… (Now, China is humiliated after a Japanese submarine chased them off. This incident happened in the South China Sea…) 

Neither the Japanese Ministry of Defense nor the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force published reports of such an incident. Cursory search of these agencies’ official Facebook pages did not yield any results. 

VERA Files Fact Check has contacted the Japanese Ministry of Defense via email, but has yet to receive a reply. 

The post appeared three days after China and Japan traded accusations over maritime incursions on disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Google search results reveal that in 2018, a Japanese submarine joined a naval drill in the South China Sea (SCS). Another search query shows that in 2021, Japan and the United States  staged an anti-submarine exercise in the SCS. 

To add credence to the claim, the eight-minute video showed various clips of the Japanese submarine Hakugei during its launch on Oct. 14, 2021. It also used parts of a video showing the Japanese submarine Oryu on March 5, 2020.

The video with no basis, posted by YouTube channel Maki Trip (created on March 13, 2019) and FB page Military Search (created on May 28, 2022), got 298,226 and 1.4 million interactions, respectively. 

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to ‘VERA, the truth bot’ on Viber.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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VERA Files

VERA Files is a nonstock, nonprofit, independent media organization. Founded in March 2008, it is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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