This photo shows Japanese automaker executive, not the country's energy minister

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A photo of a man bowing in front of journalists was shared by Facebook users in Myanmar alongside a claim that it shows Japan's energy minister apologising to the public for a 20-minute power outage in the country. The posts circulate as blackouts continue to plague the Southeast Asian country. However, the claim is false; the photo in fact shows Takahiro Hachigo, then CEO of Japanese carmaker Honda Motor, holding his first press conference in 2015 after assuming the top job.

The photo of a man bowing to a group of journalists was shared on Facebook here on May 6, 2022, where it has been shared more than 170 times.

Burmese-language text superimposed above the picture reads: "Japan's energy minister had to bow in front the public for 20 minutes straight as an apology for a 20-minute power outage in a small village in Japan."

The post's Burmese-language caption states, "You'll collapse and die from all the bowing if you're a minister in Myanmar."

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on May 17, 2022

Myanmar had been struggling with sporadic power cuts in several townships for years, but the country's electricity woes have worsened more than a year after the military launched a coup in February 2021.

Residents in Yangon and other cities have experienced frequent and prolonged power outages that could last up to six hours per day.

The identical photo was shared with a similar claim on Facebook here and here.

The picture and the claim have circulated since at least 2018 -- years before the coup -- such as here and here on Facebook.

However, the claim is false.

A combination of reverse-image and keyword searches found this photo, published by Japanese photo agency Nippon News on July 6, 2015.

The picture's caption reads: "Takahiro Hachigo, new president and chief executive officer of Honda Motor Co., holds the first news conference after taking the helm of Japans leading automaker at its Tokyo head office on Monday, July 6, 2015.

"Hachigo, who joined Honda in 1982, was in charge of developing the first-generation of U.S.-built Odyssey minivan, which was launched in 1999 primarily for the U.S. market."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine Nippon News photo (R):

screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine Nippon News photo (R)

Nippon News published another photo of Hachigo from the press conference.

AFP photos of him at the same event can be seen here and here.

Below is an AFP photo of Hachigo at the news conference:

Japanese auto giant Honda Motor's new president Takahiro Hachigo speaks before the press at the company's headquarters in Tokyo on July 6, 2015. ( AFP / Yoshikazu Tsuno)

According to a summary of Hachigo's speech, published by Honda Motor, he talked about two key points: the firm's globalisation and the development of products that could "challenge" the market.

There was no mention of him apologising to the public or anyone else in the summary.

Hachigo stepped down from his position in 2021 and was replaced by Toshishiro Mibe.