Japan to Distribute "Abenomasks" to Local Govts, Citizens


Tokyo, Dec. 15 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government will distribute a large number of cloth face masks left in inventory after being procured in the early stage of the novel coronavirus crisis to local governments and individuals, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Wednesday.

"The masks will be distributed to local governments so that they can be stockpiled for use in case of a disaster or be handed out to local residents," Matsuno told a press conference, adding that the protective item will also be distributed to people who want them directly from the state.

Also, the government plans to continue distributing the masks to elderly care facilities as needed.

In response to shortages of face masks across Japan early in the coronavirus crisis, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in April 2020 a plan for distributing two cloth masks each to every household in the country.

The masks were mockingly called "Abenomask," a pun on Abenomics, the economic policy mix of the former prime minister.

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Jiji Press