In a crackdown on fake news and misinformation in Japan, an association was formed on June 21 to fact-check information posted online as well as remarks from influential entities and individuals.

FactCheck Initiative Japan (FIJ) intends to begin a full-scale screening process against false rumors and dubious reports disseminated on the Internet and through other media sources.

A team consisting of professor Kentaro Inui at Tohoku University and others will set up a system to screen information deemed doubtful through machine learning and natural language processing techniques.

“What we can do by hand is limited because there is a flood of information,” said Atsuo Fujimura, senior vice president of media business development at SmartNews Inc., one of FIJ's founders.

Nine other FIJ founders include Inui and Hitofumi Yanai who heads Watchdog for Accuracy in News-reporting, Japan (WANJ).

The leaders spoke at a June 21 news conference in Tokyo on the launch of the new association.

The move to establish fact-checking mechanisms has been growing in the United States and Europe, driven in part by last year's U.S. presidential campaign.

Fake news articles, for example, saying that Pope Francis had endorsed then-U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump were posted online. Tech giants Facebook and Google came under fire for helping to disseminate the articles.

FIJ plans to fact-check news reports posted on the Internet, comments delivered by politicians and experts, announcements made by governmental and business entities, and information posted by the public.

Media entities, nonprofit organizations and others that participate in FIJ will fact-check information. The results will be compiled in a public database.