Is Japan an outlier in the disinformation age?

It can sometimes seem that way. In a world saturated by social media, false and misleading online narratives are an increasingly serious problem. They can exacerbate political polarization, affect the outcome of elections and even fan the flames of violence. Think of the furor over Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections, or China’s attempts to manipulate Taiwan’s recent vote or the way Facebook has been blamed for helping promote attacks against Rohingya in Myanmar.

Disinformation affects Japan, too. Yet the county’s insular media culture and a widespread aversion to online political speech have inadvertently acted as a kind of insulation, keeping the full heat of the disinformation firestorm at bay. It’s a topic we discussed at length in a recent online webinar co-sponsored by The Japan Times.