Fact Check

Did Japan Ban 5G Technology Over Health Concerns?

More to the point, does the “Ministry of High Technologies” even exist in Japan?

Published Oct 16, 2019

A 5G sign is displayed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 27, 2019. - Phone makers will focus on foldable screens and the introduction of blazing fast 5G wireless networks at the world's biggest mobile fair as they try to reverse a decline in sales of smartphones. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images) (JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Image Via JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Claim:
The Japanese government banned the development of 5G technology over health concerns.

On June 9, 2019, a website named Putin Tomorrow posted a story claiming that the Japanese government would be banning 5G cellular technology “for the health of [its] citizens.” The term "5G" — 5th-generation wireless networks — is a frequent boogeyman on health conspiracy websites that allege unsubstantiated negative health effects from the technology. The Putin Tomorrow article fits that mold, claiming that the “Ministry of High Technologies” posted an announcement on their official website that they would be banning the development of, and investment in, this cellular technology, while citing someone named Nobunari Kabato as that ministry’s head:

“We need to think about the health of the Japanese. Our country has already accelerated economically so that today we have nowhere to hurry. It is necessary to stabilize this state. 5G is fraught with great danger. So we think not only we, yesterday this information was confirmed by the US ambassador to Japan. If America, China or the EU countries are ready to risk their people for the sake of progress, then such a strategy is unacceptable for our welfare state, ”said Nobunari Kabato, Minister of High Technologies.

At least three reasons exist why the above assertion is baseless. First, "Nobunari Kabato" appears to be a made-up name: The only Google search result for it is the article we are presently debunking. Second, no “Ministry of High Technology” exists in the Japanese government. The closest entity to that would be the “Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology,” which is run by a man named Kōichi Hagiuda. Finally, and contrary to the headline claim in the article, Japan is actively investing in 5G technology.

In fact, Japanese companies are actually investing in what the Nikeii Asian Review described as a ”14 [billion dollar] spending blitz for nationwide 5G.” In April, that outlet reported that “Japan's government ... approved plans by four mobile network operators to build superfast fifth-generation wireless networks, with investment set to total 1.6 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) over the next five years.” As such, we rate this claim as "False."

Sources

Putin Tomorrow.   “Japan Abandoned the Development of 5G Networks for the Health of Citizens”     9 June 2019.

www.mext.go.jp.   “Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology”     Accessed 16 October 2019.

Hotta, Takafumi.   Japan's Carriers Plan $14bn Spending Blitz for Nationwide 5G.”     Nikkei Asian Review.   3 October 2019.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.

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