11 M. "Abenomasks" in Inventory Found Defective

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Some 11 million, or 15 pct, of 71 million cloth face masks in stock prepared by the Japanese government in the early stage of the novel coronavirus crisis but left unused have been found defective, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday.

The substandard masks were found in inventory inspections by the health ministry, Kishida said at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament.

The so-called Abenomasks were procured at the initiative of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid a mask shortage during the pandemic.

At the meeting, Kishida also said his government has spent a total of 2.92 billion yen in additional costs for mask inspections by the ministry and suppliers.

"We'll consider appropriate measures from the standpoint of cost-effectiveness, including distributing the inventory to care facilities as needed," he said, reiterating his plan to distribute them.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press