We came across the following video on the social media platform X/Twitter:
The video depicts a Japanese man in the outfit of a policeman approaching a group of men who are not of Japanese ethnicity, who are seated and having some drinks outside a building.
The ‘policeman’ appears to gesture to the group to leave the area. The group appears unhappy to be asked to leave and that they are being filmed. Some of the men argue with the ‘policeman’ and some in the group spill their drinks on the ground.
Towards the end of the video, it appears that a fight is about to break out between a member of the group and the ‘policeman’ before another member of the group shepherds the others away.
The video was posted by Ian Miles Cheong, a rightwing political commentator based in Malaysia who regularly posts disinformation but who nevertheless often engages in conversation with X/Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk.
There did appear to be some potentially hostile language towards foreigners employed by the man in the ‘police’ outfit, who said that the group of foreigners should not ‘come to another country and cause trouble’.
There was no evidence, as suggested in the video, that the foreigners were unemployed.
Police Discrimination an Enduring Reality
A general web search on police discrimination towards non-Japanese individuals by Japanese police revealed that in December 2021, the US embassy in Tokyo warned citizens of ‘suspected racial profiling incidents’ by Japanese police.
Though this was refuted by a Japanese government spokesperson, similar accounts were reported later in the month by the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. Mainichi reported that a recent police report contained details of six incidents of racial profiling across the country in 2021.
Among these was a biracial man with Japanese/Black heritage who was approached by a police officer who suggested his dreadlocks made it more likely he was carrying drugs.
Another individual with foreign roots but who was born and raised in Japan shared that an officer yelled, ‘You foreigners go back to your countries, foreigners don’t deserve human rights! Go home! Take your family and go home!’.
Not a Policeman, but a Provocateur
We investigated the origins of the video and found that the man in the video was not, in truth, a Japanese police officer. He was instead a rightwing YouTuber named Takeshi Goto (alias Reiwa Take).
This was initially suggested by another X/Twitter user in reply to Cheong’s post. The user also suggested that the man in the ‘police’ outfit was in fact dressed in the uniform of Japanese ultranationalist organisations. Our web searches of these outfits also returned similar results.
We found a news report from 2021 that Takeshi was habitually harassing smokers on the street, and using videos of his actions to create content for his YouTube channel.
Another article from 2022 captured the incident in the post, reporting that Takeshi had created a YouTube video in which he had approached the foreigners in Shibuya on Halloween 2022 and warned them against drinking, littering and smoking on the street. We also found X/Twitter posts by Takeshi’s supporters that corroborated the timeline of these events.
A link to Takeshi’s YouTube channel led to the discovery that the channel had been banned for violating YouTube’s policies against content designed to harass, bully or threaten.
An Old Video, Mislabelled
As such, the claim that the video depicts a Japanese policeman arguing with unruly, jobless migrants and telling them to leave Japan is false.
Instead, the video, which originates from over a year ago, depicts a Japanese man wearing the uniform of an ultranationalist group getting into a confrontation with foreigners in order to create YouTube content.