Japan lags behind other countries in fact-checking initiatives and still has low awareness of their importance, according to FactCheck Initiative Japan (FIJ), a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization that encourages fact-verifying activities.

Speaking at a news conference on Feb. 8 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, three representatives of the group spoke about the importance of fact-checking, in particular amid the growing volume of misinformation and bogus claims on the internet.

People in the media "come up to me and say that they do fact-check their stories," said Yoichiro Tateiwa, a former senior editor at NHK who was also involved in the investigations into the Panama Papers — a massive data leak that revealed the offshore holdings of politicians, business leaders and celebrities worldwide. "However, the fact-checking they do is not about whether the statements themselves are factually accurate," but instead about checking that each statement is reported correctly, he added.