Kojima Productions has threatened to take legal action following social media posts that have falsely identified Hideo Kojima as the shooting suspect in the assassination of ex-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Abe was shot and killed on Friday in the city of Nara while giving a political speech.
Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, a Nara resident, was apprehended by police shortly after the shooting. Yamagami confessed to the assassination, stating he held a “grudge” against Abe. However, this didn’t stop an old photo of Komjia from being posted online and identified as the shooter.
Supposedly the post started out as a joke, but some media outlets circulated the idea as fact. The photo was notably spread by far-right French politician Damien Rieu on Twitter. It was also aired by a Greek news channel, where it was identified as a photo of the shooter. Additionally, several outlets reported that Yamagami identified heavily with the doctrine of Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionist. This claim is based on nothing more than the fact that Kojima is standing next to an image of Guevara in the old photo.
Although Rieu has since deleted his tweets and apologized (stating he was unaware the photo was of Kojima), Kojima Productions is drawing a line in the sand. On Saturday, the company tweeted, “Kojima Productions strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information. We do not tolerate such libel and will consider taking legal action in some cases.”
While the tweet does not reference any specific social media posts or outlets, it should serve as a stern warning to journalists and other groups about their fact-checking policies.