Japan Data

Many in Japan Still Wearing Masks to Avoid Infection

Society Health Lifestyle

Despite the symbolic downgrading of COVID-19 under Japanese legislation in May, many in Japan are still wearing masks to prevent infection when they leave the home.

As of May 8, 2023, COVID-19 was downgraded under Japanese legislation to category 5, the same level as seasonal influenza. However, while individuals can now decide for themselves whether or not to use a mask, an overwhelming majority can still be seen wearing them on the streets and commuter trains.

Line Research, a smartphone research platform operated by Line, carried out a survey on people wearing masks when they left the home. Both indoors and outdoors, the most popular answer was among the respondents who “always” wore masks, at around 40%, while close to 30% “often” wore them. The percentage of people who did not wear masks outdoors was slightly higher than for indoors, but not by a significant amount.

Do you wear a mask when you go out?

The most common situation in which people wore masks was “at the hospital,” accounting for 76%, closely followed by “on crowded public transport” and “at the supermarket or convenience store,” both with 74%. At 62%, “on public transport (even if not crowded)” was also relatively high.

In what kind of situation do you wear a mask?

Asked if they wanted to continue wearing a mask in the future, the tally of those who either wanted to always wear a mask or wear one whenever possible came to 55%, or more than half of respondents. Those aged 20–29 had the lowest percentage for wanting to wear a mask with 44%, while the ratio of those aged 30 and above wanting to wear one increased with age.

Do you intend to wear a mask in the future?

The main reason for wanting to wear a mask for approximately 70% of people was “I don’t want to get infected.” This was the top reason across all age groups. For teenagers, the second most common reason for continuing to wear a mask was because “I’m embarrassed and don’t want people to see my face” at 48.8%, followed by other reasons, such as “I’m concerned about people’s perceptions” at 39.5% and “everyone around me is wearing one” with 36.3%, an indication that they were worried about how people regarded them.

Why do you want to wear a mask? (Respondents aged 15–19)

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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