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Fuji TV, Sankei Shimbun announce fabricated data found in their polls

This photo shows the headquarters of Fuji Television Network Inc. in 2019. (Mainichi/Kimitaka Takeichi)

TOKYO -- Fuji Television Network Inc. and the Sankei Shimbun Co. on June 19 announced the discovery that some data in 14 joint opinion polls they conducted had been fabricated, saying a company contracted to phone survey responders filled in answers without making the calls.

The problematic surveys were conducted between May 2019 and May this year. In response, the companies have retracted reports that included the fabricated data, and they announced that their public opinion polls would be suspended for the time being.

According to the media firms' announcement, the joint surveys were entrusted to Tokyo-based polling company Adams Communications Co. Ltd. from May 2019. The company chose some 1,000 respondents though randomly selected landline and mobile phone numbers, and subcontracted about half of the calls to Kyoto-based firm Nippon Telenet. But the person in charge at the subcontractor is said to have fabricated answers by filling in the forms without actually making the calls.

The falsification is said to have come to light on June 12, and in each survey with 1,000 samples, well over 100 cases of invented data were found. Overall, the total number of fabricated samples over 14 surveys reached about 2,500. A person in charge at the subcontracting firm reportedly acknowledged the responses had been made up, stating, "It was difficult to secure phone operators. We did it to boost profits." A representative of Fuji TV's corporate public relations office said, "Permission to subcontract the work was supposed to be received in writing, but this was not done."

Fuji TV said the company felt a strong sense of responsibility for not being able to check the illicit data and also for broadcasting the information. The Sankei Shimbun, meanwhile, commented, "We deeply apologize for delivering mistaken information in our reporting on opinion polls, which is an important role of news organizations."

(Japanese original by Yuka Narita, City News Department)

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