Unwanted ‘Abenomask’ now in high demand
16:02 JST, February 1, 2022
The cloth masks that no one seemed to want early in the pandemic are now in hot demand.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, looking to disburse 80 million cloth masks left over from a 2020 government distribution campaign and currently in storage, said Monday it has received requests for more than 280 million.
According to the ministry, a total of 370,000 requests from local governments, nursing homes and individuals have been sent for the masks, which were made available as an early government countermeasure against the coronavirus.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had said the government had planned to dispose of the masks by the end of this fiscal year in March, but the surprising demand has led to a change of policy.
The government now plans to start distributing the masks from early March after determining the amount to be allotted.
The masks were originally distributed to households under the direction of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but they proved unpopular and shipments stopped. The cost of storing the remaining inventory became a problem.
“If only they had done it [distribution] earlier,” Abe said at a meeting of his Liberal Democratic Party faction on Thursday.
"Society" POPULAR ARTICLE
M5.2 Earthquake Hits Tokyo’s Neighboring Areas; No Tsunami Expected
Over 10 Killer Whales Trapped Amid Drift Ice Off Coast of Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula
Earthquake Measuring Magnitude 4.3 Hits Kyoto Prefecture; No Tsunami Expected (Update 1)
One Month to go Until the Hokuriku Shinkansen Extension; the “First Train” Sells Out in 1 Minute
Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Hits Ehime, Hiroshima Prefectures; No Tsunami Expected
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Current Account Surplus Doubles in ’23
- ‘All-country’ Stock Mutual Funds Popular with NISA Investors
- Japan Real Wages Fall at Steepest Pace in 9 Years in 2023
- Pressure Mounting for Wage Increases in Shunto Negotiations; Fears about the Response of Struggling SMEs
- North Korean Workers in China Riot over Unpaid Wages; 2,000 Occupy Factory, Kill Plant Manager