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Fact Check-No evidence Japan’s former defence minister tweeted warning of Ukrainian missiles over nuclear plant and ‘America’s crimes’

A screenshot showing a purported tweet from the former Japanese defence minister, Nobuo Kishi, in which he allegedly says “Ukrainian missiles should not explode over the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant”, as well as warning against “America’s crimes”, is fabricated, Kishi said. Reuters also found no evidence the tweet ever existed.

A screenshot of the alleged tweet was published by the verified Twitter account of Russia’s embassy in Britain. The embassy added in a caption: “Japanese Special Advisor @KishiNobuo (in a subsequently deleted tweet) … We couldn’t express it any better...”

While the Russian embassy tweet has since been deleted, an archived version can be found (here).

The screenshot of the alleged tweet features Kishi’s Twitter handle and profile picture, and it includes Japanese text, translated into English via Google.

The English-language text in the screenshot reads: “The world is on the brink of a nuclear disaster! Ukrainian missiles should not explode over the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Don’t repeat America’s crimes! Today may be the last day of mankind...”

Beneath, are two side-by-side photographs with additional captions that read: “Zaporizhia NPP” for the picture on the left and “Hiroshima after the a bomb explosion” for the picture on the right.

A red arrow pointing to the right is superimposed over the two images, suggesting the outcome of a disaster at the Zaporizhia plant could mimic that of the world’s first atomic bombing (here).

Kishi responded to the Russian embassy’s tweet to say it was a fake and requested a correction.

He wrote: “The tweet that they are retweeting didn’t exist to begin with. It’s fake and please correct it." (here )

When contacted by Reuters, Kishi’s staff pointed to another tweet posted on his verified account (here ). It said: “The tweet that the Russian Embassy in the UK is spreading does not originally exist. It’s fake. It seems like people... are proactively spreading this false rumour.”

Reuters was also unable to find any evidence that the tweet existed. The tweet is not present on Kishi’s profile, nor is there any evidence of people replying to a now-deleted post (archive.ph/4HOMF ).

Moreover, an advanced search of the image captioned “Hiroshima” is in fact from Nagasaki (here , here).

Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over multiple recent incidents of shelling at the Zaporizhzhia facility, Europe's largest nuclear power plant. Russian troops captured the station early in the war (here).

VERDICT

False. There is no evidence the tweet ever existed.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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