Fact Check: Tsunami Footage Is NOT From 2024 Japanese Earthquake -- It's 2011 Video

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Tsunami Footage Is NOT From 2024 Japanese Earthquake -- It's 2011 Video From 2011

Does a video on social media show tsunami flooding in Japan after an earthquake on January 1, 2024? No, that's not true: The footage in a video with the title "Japan earthquake 2024" comes from a video documenting the 2011 earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan. The 2024 earthquake did not trigger a massive tsunami comparable to the 2011 event.

The claim appeared in a Facebook Reel (archived here) on January 3, 2024. It opened with the sound of a siren and footage of cars being tossed in roiling waters and swept away by powerful currents. The on-screen text read:

Japan earthquake 2024

Pray For Japan

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-09 at 18.31.50.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 15:19:40 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories reverse-image searched (archived here) the footage and found that it came from a 2021 YouTube video (archived here) documenting the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The YouTube video's description (translated by Google Translate) starts: "At 2:46 pm on March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the largest in Japan's history, occurred off the coast of Tohoku. A huge tsunami swept through the country, causing severe damage and killing 15,899 people across the country."

In the screenshots below, Lead Stories has circled the similarities between the YouTube video on the 2011 earthquake and the Facebook reel that falsely claims the footage is from 2024. Red encircles two trees, one with leaves and one without; yellow a house, and green a yellow car:

Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 12.02.03 PM.png

(Source: Facebook and YouTube screenshots taken on Wed Jan 10 15:15:52 2024 UTC)

After the January 1, 2024, earthquake, Japan did not experience a massive tsunami comparable to the 2011 event (archived here).

Other Lead Stories articles on natural disasters are here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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