A legendary video game developer has threatened to sue over hoax posts portraying him as Shinzo Abe’s killer.
Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was linked to the shooting of Japan’s former prime minister in pictures on website 4chan.
The images were shared by a French politician and reportedly broadcast by Greek and Iranian news outlets.
Kojima Productions said it “strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumours that convey false information”.
The 4chan post used a photo of Kojima and labelled him as a “left-wing extremist” with a criminal record.
It also included a picture of Kojima wearing a type of Ushanka, or fur hat, worn by soldiers in communist Russia, and another of him standing next to a picture of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.
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Screenshots on social media showed Damien Rieu, a French politician associated with the country’s nationalist movement, had tweeted out images of Kojima with text translated to: “The far-left kills”.
He has since deleted his tweet and issued an apology to Kojima, saying he “naively took a joke for information” and “was wrong not to check before sharing”.
In response, the game director’s company tweeted a statement warning it would consider legal action over the spread of false information.
Mr Abe died last Friday after he was shot with a homemade gun.
Police say the suspect, named as Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, has admitted the killing.
Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, who served for a year in 2006 and then again from 2012 to 2020, before stepping down due to health reasons.
Abe later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease.
While he was in office, he pushed more assertive policies on defence and foreign policy and wanted to amend Japan’s pacifist post-war constitution.
On Japanese social media, the hashtag “We want democracy, not violence” was trending throughout Friday, with many users expressing their horror and disgust over Mr Abe’s killing.
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