FACT CHECK: Did The Japanese Movie ‘Akira’ Predict The Coronavirus Outbreak?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 31,000 times claims the Japanese animated film “Akira” predicted a global pandemic that causes the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed.

Verdict: False

The movie does not feature a pandemic or the World Health Organization (WHO) at any point. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have not been postponed at the time of publication.

Fact Check: 

The Daily Caller watched the entirety of the English-dubbed version and found that, contrary to the post’s claim, the 1988 animated film does not depict a disease outbreak or mention the WHO at any point. The “apocalyptic event” referenced in the post is actually an explosion that destroys Tokyo at the beginning of the film.

An early scene does show a large sign counting down the days to the Tokyo Olympics, with graffiti below it saying, “Just cancel it,” according to Mashable Southeast Asia. However, the Olympics are only referenced visually a few times and aren’t central to the plot of the film, though the final battle takes place inside the Olympic stadium.

“Akira” is set in 2019 in Neo Tokyo, a fictional city built where Tokyo was previously located. Its main plot revolves around a teen biker gang that gets entangled in a secret government project involving children with supernatural powers.

At the time of publication, the WHO has not advised Japan to cancel the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but rather provided them with guidance. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show A Wuhan Lab With The Same Logo As The Fictional ‘Resident Evil’ Lab)

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) announced on March 22 that it will take four weeks to consider its options for dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. Options include modifying existing operational plans to allow the Games to begin on July 24 and changing the start date entirely, according to the IOC’s statement.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has spread across the global, sickening some 335,972 people and killing some 14,632 others, according to the Johns Hopkins University live map.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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