Japan Govt Has 82 Million Cloth Masks in Surplus

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Oct. 28 (Jiji Press)--Some 82 million cloth masks procured by the Japanese government in 2020 to distribute to people at care facilities and elsewhere in the fight against COVID-19 crisis remain in storage, health ministry sources said Thursday.

They account for some 30 pct of all the cloth masks bought by the government and are worth 11.5 billion yen, according to the sources. The storage cost totaled about 600 million yen as of March this year, the sources said.

In April 2020, the ministry launched an initiative to distribute cloth masks mainly to people at care facilities and nursery schools.

The ministry initially planned to give away an additional total of around 80 million cloth masks in July that year, but it changed the plan and decided to distribute such masks to only facilities that wish to receive them after the mask supply situation improved. As a result, some 78 million cloth masks were kept in storage.

Also, some four million cloth masks that were supposed to be sent to all households were left undistributed.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press