Calls for Relaxing COVID-19 Mask Standards Growing in Japan

Politics

Tokyo, May 13 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government is increasingly facing calls for reviewing its request for the public to wear face masks even outdoors in principle to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus.

Such calls grew following progress in COVID-19 vaccinations in the country and increasing moves abroad to allow people to take off their masks.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, however, is negative about changing the request immediately, saying that wearing face masks is "basic precautions" against infection.

"It's not realistic to ease the recommendations on wearing masks at the moment," Kishida said at a meeting of the Health, Welfare and Labor Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, on Thursday, in response to a question from an opposition lawmaker. "Using masks is very important (to prevent infection)," he added.

Tokyo Medical Association head Haruo Ozaki drew attention by suggesting Tuesday that the use of masks outdoors is not necessary. "Infection risks are not so high at well-ventilated places, so it may be advisable to review the recommendations on wearing masks outdoors," he said at a press conference.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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