VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Japan DID NOT declare war on China over WPS row

Japan has declared war against China

YouTube channel PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS 04/14/2024 False

Japan has not declared war against China. The country just expressed “serious concern” over China’s aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea in a joint statement with the United States and the Philippines.

Japan has not declared war against China nor did it conduct a military operation to drive away Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), contrary to a claim in a YouTube video. 

Uploaded on April 14, three days after a trilateral summit among Japan, the Philippines and the United States, the video bore a clickbait thumbnail that read: 


(Japan’s ultimatum. Declared war on China)!”

Its headline also said: “KAKAPASOK LANG Walang Nagawa ang CHINA sa Matinding Ut0s ng JAPAN! Pinalayas nasa WPS PBBM Tagumpay (Just in. China was unable to do anything with the extreme order from Japan. Sent away from the WPS, PBBM won).”

Japan made no such declaration of war nor did it issue any ultimatum against China to leave the WPS. The country renounces war as an instrument of foreign policy. 

Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution states that “Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” 

The joint statement that Japan issued with the U.S. and the Philippines after their recent summit made no mention of war with China but expressed “serious concerns” over its constant aggressive activities in the South China Sea. 

Despite this, Japan aims to pursue a peaceful cooperation with China. Based on its diplomatic handbook for 2024, Japan would explore “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests” with China while also recognizing that the country poses “an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge” to them. 

The erroneous video merely played clips of an April 8 news report from Bombo Radyo Philippines and commentary from a previously fact-checked vlogger on the WPS row. 

Uploaded by YouTube channels PHILIPPINES TRENDING NEWS and WANGBUDISS TV, the video has drawn a total of 139,878 interactions. Facebook users also reposted the links. 

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)