Inaccurate claims about ivermectin being used to treat COVID-19 in Japan, a country where almost 80% of the population is fully vaccinated, have resurfaced online.
As previously debunked by Reuters on Nov. 1, 2021 ( here ), the drug is not approved by Japan’s medical regulator as a COVID-19 treatment.
Allegations the country has “revoked” or “dropped” a vaccine mandate are also misleading: Japan never imposed such a measure to begin with.
“Instead of being insane, Japan opted for Ivermectin and a return to freedom, and it’s paid off,” a Twitter user wrote, sharing an Our World in Data graph showing cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom, France, and Japan. (here)
Ivermectin is an approved drug by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration for treating parasites in animals and humans ( here ). The agency has repeatedly warned against using it for COVID-19 ( here ), ( here ). Clinical trials ( here ) evaluating ivermectin as a viable treatment for COVID-19 are ongoing.
At the time of writing, the drug is not listed as approved to treat or prevent COVID-19 in Japan by the country’s medicines regulator, the Pharmaceuticals and Medicals Devices Agency (PMDA). A list of approved therapeutics and medical equipment to treat the virus ( here ) includes the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines as well as antivirals like Remdesivir and Molnupiravir. Ivermectin does not figure in the list.
The AP and Forbes previously addressed similar misleading claims ( here ), ( here ) that surfaced after Haruo Ozaki, president of the Tokyo Medical Association, a non-governmental organization, recommended the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 at a news conference in August 2021 ( here ).
Reuters found at least two articles from early January with headlines that the country had “revoked” or “dropped" “all vaccine mandates” ( here ), ( here ). A social media post sharing the content can be seen ( here).
It is true COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory in the country. The Japanese Ministry of Health and Labor states on its websites that: “Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, is not compulsory or mandatory.” ( here )
Claims that Japan “dropped” immunization mandates are inaccurate. The country never implemented such a measure. Back in November, Bloomberg reported that Japan was leading “the G-7 in Covid Shots Without a Mandate in Sight.” ( here )
A Reuters Factbox listing countries where COVID-19 vaccination is compulsory for certain population groups ( here ) does not include Japan.
Partly false. Claims that ivermectin is an approved COVID-19 treatment in Japan are erroneous. COVID-19 vaccination in Japan is not compulsory, but the country has never implemented such a measure.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.