Image of Japanese factory explosion misleadingly shared alongside claim it was 'storing vaccines'
An image of a damaged building has been shared repeatedly in Korean-language social media posts that claim it shows the aftermath of an explosion at "a factory storing Covid-19 vaccines" in Japan. This is misleading: the image corresponds to multiple news reports about an explosion at a Japanese factory that handles raw materials for semiconductors. A spokesperson for the factory told AFP it does not produce or store vaccines.
The image was shared on Facebook on January 20, 2022.
The post shows a Korean-language blog containing the image.
The blog's headline translates as: "A factory storing Covid-19 vaccines exploded in Japan. Possible [there will be a] complete halt to vaccinations.
"Most of the vaccines stored [in the building] were destroyed by the explosion."
The post's caption translates as: "Japan is doing really well with its [pandemic] exit strategy."
But the claim is misleading.
There have been no official reports about a recent explosion at a vaccine storage facility or factory in Japan.
The Japanese government plans to continue offering free Covid-19 vaccines until at least September 2022, according to its health ministry.
In reality, the image corresponds to news footage of an explosion at a Japanese factory for semiconductor materials.
The video's Japanese-language description translates as: "On the morning of the 6th, two men were taken to a hospital after an explosion at a factory in Sanbongi, Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, which manufactures raw materials for semiconductors."
Below is a screenshot comparison of the image shared on Facebook (left) and the KHB footage (right):
The Kyodo report identifies the factory as owned by the Japanese company RASA Industries.
On the company's website here, it lists deodorising chemicals; industrial machinery; and electronic materials among its products.
"We do not produce Covid-19 vaccines nor store them," a spokesperson for RASA Industries told AFP.
AFP previously has debunked misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines in Japan here.