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Many COVID experts in Japan harassed after speaking to media: survey

Many Japanese COVID-19 researchers who spoke to the media during the pandemic were harassed or threatened by the public, a new study shows.

The research is led by Professor Mikihito Tanaka of Waseda University and published in the May edition of the scientific journal Jinko Chino (Artificial Intelligence), is Japan’s first comprehensive investigation into threats against COVID-19 experts.

The team sent a questionnaire to 121 experts who gave interviews about the pandemic to the Asahi Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun, as well as five TV stations, between February 2020 and March 2021. Of the 42 who responded, two were women. Thirty-four of the respondents worked at universities, six at research institutions and four served on government advisory committees, the newspaper said. Half of the 42 experts who gave media interviews during the pandemic faced harassment from the public.

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