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Delivery of 'Abenomasks' starts in 34 remaining prefectures

56 Comments

The delivery of face masks as part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's coronavirus-countering efforts began Saturday in the 34 prefectures that had not yet received them, despite the majority by now having no or relatively few cases of infection.

Some citizens in the areas, including Miyagi and Nara prefectures, criticized the government for acting too slowly given Abe has already lifted a state of emergency over the virus in 42 of the nation's 47 prefectures, and is expected to do so in the remaining prefectures such as Tokyo possibly on Monday.

The postal distribution followed deliveries to Tokyo, Osaka and 11 other prefectures with a larger number of infections earlier this month, though the masks -- dubbed "Abenomasks" on social media, a pun on Abe's much-touted "Abenomics" economic policy mix -- have yet to arrive at some households in Tokyo.

In Sendai, the capital of the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi, local worker Toru Takahashi said he will not use the government-provided face covering because recent shortages have eased, meaning masks are now widely available.

"How much time and taxpayer money has the government spent to just send two masks (per household)?" Takahashi, 59, asked.

Critics have questioned the effectiveness of the 46.6 billion yen ($440 million) scheme, while people have complained that the masks are too small. Others have pointed out that delivering two to each household is not particularly helpful for large families.

Not everybody was unhappy with the news masks will begin arriving to homes in the 34 prefectures.

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

Government officials have said the distribution of cloth masks is aimed at curbing demand for disposable ones that were in short supply in the early stages of the pandemic.

Despite the state of emergency having been lifted in the vast majority of the country, infectious disease experts have been calling on the public to remain alert for a second wave of infections.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments
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Here in Tokyo, we're still waiting.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I’m in Tokyo and our masks were delivered Friday.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good! Time to reopen the economy. Enough damage had been done. These masks will help do that. #joke

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

it is rare to receive ‘anything’ from the Japanese government-it usually takes money and spends it on ways to ‘govern’ the population!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

Spoken like a real child! Does she think this is like a Christmas gift from Santa? And this girl gets to vote next election, and you know she will cast her vote for Santa Abe won't she!

I read that Suga, said that the Abenomasks were the reason that the price of other masks has fallen! Yeah, right!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Just as restrictions are eased or over? Still waiting myself, but going to return to sender. He seems to enjoy wearing them so he can wear mine.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Very timely......as many said the outbreak will have calmed down before Jgovt manages to send out these 2 ill fitting, overpriced pieces of pork barrell.

I

read that Suga, said that the Abenomasks were the reason that the price of other masks has fallen! Yeah, right!*

As usual lies come out as soon as Suga opens his mouth at press conferences.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I put my useless, waste of money face nappies back in the post.... Can I deduct ¥500 from my tax bill next year?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

trump will forever be equated with hydroxichloriquine and ingesting disenfectants, while abe's will be his idiot masks. What a legacy for one of the greatest crisis on the planet since WW2.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

University student....I will bet they "interviewed" her as they handed her ¥300,000 in cash too! 100,000 for the cash Abe promised, and the 200,000 for students in need.

I mean who else in their right mind could say something like this with a straight face! Not to mention they had to travel all the way to Kumamoto to actually find someone who is "happy" to hear about it!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

NHK interviewed a woman down here in Okinawa last night on the news, as she opened her mail box and they had her try on the mask.

Her comments were not what they expected I will bet, she gave the mask a ludicrous look, and sad, "I don't know, this is a mask an elementary school child would wear I'm never going to wear it! It's too small and the elastic hurts my ears!"

Someone please slap Abe upside the head and give him a decent mask that actually FIT's on his face!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

This whole thing is just another Abe debacle. He is proud of what he has done and believes he has done something to help the people. However, the reality is, he spent huge wads of public money on useless masks that are reaching most of the people after the pandemic has settled. He is a nutter!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

We received ours, my wife wears masks regularly due to allergies and has what is often called in Japan a small face (hey I didn't invent the saying) and often buys child size masks. These things don't even fit her even if she could wear them she wouldn't, as for me big gaijin nose I would be lucky if it just covered that!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

46.6 billion yen!

How much of that was to pay for the masks and how much went under the table to your "friends and relatives," Mr Abe?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

With all the media focus on the Abe masks, my family has been waiting with anticipation for these to arrive.

Well, looked in the mailbox this week and there was the long awaited envelope sitting in my mailbox. I ran into the house and said excitingly, “THEY ARE HERE, THEY ARE HERE!!” and then my daughter yelled, “let me see!!” “Don’t open it! I want to open it”

We all laughed and I said, “ he could have just sent out a letter on how to make your own”

This is why you need to keep government out of our lives as much as possible.

The government that governs the least, governs the best.

Whose benefitted from making those??

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just in time! Haven't you figured out yet that any action by a government is nearly always far too late, inadequate, and fiscally irresponsible? A good summation of socialism.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Still waiting in Yokohama...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I would love to find out what the relationship is between Abe and whoever got the 46.6Billion yen contract to produce these masks, which don't fit, don't work, and don't arrive until the hordes start piling back onto commuter trains.

That must be one hell of a brown envelope.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Adding insult to injury and then some. Absolutely pathetic on multiple levels.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

FYI, Japan is not the only government that sends its citizens free face masks. The government of Hong Kong is doing it, too. Just like Japan, the mask is not without criticism.

https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/news/article/3083174/online-registration-free-mask-hong-kong-government-opens

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We finally got hours on Friday. What a joke. Luckily, surgical masks are readily available now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Recently face masks have suddenly started appearing in the stores everywhere. Yesterday I saw a box of 50 for ¥2,000.

Any last flicker of anticipation for my government-issue nose-cover has long died out, along with the threat of Covert-19. What to do with them when they arrive? Frame them?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The expense of administrative costs outweighs the objective logical outcome.

The fact that there are quote relatively few cases plus the availability of disposable masks to limit the risk of infection seems to confirm the need to review the delivery of these so called 'Abenomasks'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm good thanx.I'd prefer the money instead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a boondoggle from start to not yet finish, but a statement on the Japanese government in general. A promise of swift action resulting in MONTHS of delays, and BILLIONS spent, with basically no result (and including bugs and hair in some masks for pregnant women). I guess one of Abe's cronies got rich, though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Beat Takeshi’s comment in the Chunichi gave me a chuckle; he received his mask and thought it was an eyepatch.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Recently face masks have suddenly started appearing in the stores everywhere. Yesterday I saw a box of 50 for ¥2,000.

In my local supermarket they have been there for about two weeks now! I still think they are over-charging, but now there are all sorts of masks available, even one's down here that give a portion of the cost towards rebuilding Shuri Castle! (Even have a picture of Shuri on the box too!)

Used to be a shortage of alcohol disinfectant, and the sake makers here are selling 66% to a whopping 87% alcohol based disinfectants as a replacement for the alcohol. Bought one, diluted it with water, and it still smells like damn awamori! There is no way in hell I am going to spray that on me and get in my carto drive!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Abenomasks in Kanagawa...not yet.

But proper masks available in supermarkets, pharmacies, and now sanitizing gel back on the shelves - made in Korea, not China - one per person only at cash point.

A new, much quoted study from Hong Kong University showed 75% reduction in virus transmission when wearing masks, but the study was in ... hamsters!

That's about the face size cover of the Abenomask.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The only upside in this whole debacle has been watching Abe literally having strap his ineptitude to his own face everytime he steps out in public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yoshisan88

The masks are not free-it’s money from our taxes paying for them...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I accept that foreigners filling out the Supplementary Benefit form can also use a copy of their Resident Card too for the ID.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Got 2 masks in Kyoto last week. While the fabric is good, the size is indeed too small and it is very thick, meaning there are large gaps between the side of my nose and the cheeks. It’s like a 2-dimensional patch really. Utterly ridiculous.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Too little too late. Again

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Waste of money and time, Abe will be booted for doing this stupid waste.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Waste of money and time, Abe will be booted for doing this stupid waste.

While I am in agreement about Abe needing to be booted, this "mask" thing wont be enough to do it, as he can always argue that he had the best interests of everyone at heart, and people will listen to that!

One other thing, Abe has shown little empathy for the people who are suffering here NOW!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What a shameless waste of taxpayers' money. How much did Abe rake off and pocket? How about his constituents in Okayama, how much did they make? Does there not have to be some sort of public accounting of these expenditures?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

They had to find child who hasn't yet paid any taxes to get a quote like this. Check back with her in 10 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How about his constituents in Okayama

Close but no cigar, he is from Yamaguchi

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A little too late.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even in Hokkaido, one of the 'special measures' prefectures, and one of the few that still has a SoE, I haven't seen any sign of the things. And regular masks have started coming back into stock this past week, so it's useless now anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan

It just occurred to me that this is why they want to lower the voting age. Students have never experienced paying taxes on their income, so they will naturally be happy to vote for bigger and more government programs. To them, it's free stuff. By the time they grow up and realize it's actually junk they are getting overcharged for, it's too late.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It just occurred to me that this is why they want to lower the voting age. 

Want to? Already happened, going on two years or so now! Next in 2021 or maybe 2022, the legal age for drinking and smoking will drop to 18 as well! (All because Abe needs more tax income!)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You’ve gotta be kidding me right?

The state of emergency has been lifted and NOW the government and media announces masks will start to be given out to the rest of Japan?

I went to my neighborhood combini this morning and was able to buy a couple for myself. Even pachinko parlors are giving them out as prizes now.

Im a Japanese citizen with a My Number card and still couldn’t get the stimulus money because of a computer error.

Thank god the death toll seems to be relatively low because the politicians and governors that the Japanese people voted in failed big time.

Mask distribution: Failure

Covid testing: Failure

Monetary help: Failure

The Japanese culture is so into being polite and saying ごめんなさい. I hope the next article I see on this website is that of our government leaders apologizing for its unkept promises and dereliction of duty.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is mocking the plebs. Shame on you Abe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And here I thought the Japanese were supposed to be known for their timeliness

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

34 remaining prefectures? I JUST got mine yesterday in Tokyo. Also send to household? My office got one in the post box too!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just in the nick of time.....!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

jefflee wrong, I live in Tokyo and got mine 3 weeks ago.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

kutan maybe your face is too big. They are perfect for an average japanese face.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some of this trolls will hate prime Minister Abe no matter what he does.

Facts matter? No

Does it matter Japan has been a success story when it comes to this virus? No

Death toll among the lowest among developing nations and Japan is the #1 country in the world with the Oldest People on Earth! Some are 100!

Japan after China has been the 2nd country to report infections early on, by now millions should be Infected and tens of thousands dead! NEVER HAPPENED.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"It is quite rare to receive masks from the government. I'm happy to hear that the masks will finally arrive," said Ayumi Sato, 18, a university student in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.

Aso,s grandchild maybe ? :)

NHK interviewed a woman down here in Okinawa last night on the news, as she opened her mail box ....she gave the mask a ludicrous look, and sad, "I don't know, this is a mask an elementary school child would wear I'm never going to wear it! It's too small and the elastic hurts my ears!"

Bless her...gotta love Okinawans.:)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many people have already made their own masks by now. All it takes is one family member and a sewing machine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kutan maybe your face is too big. They are perfect for an average japanese face.

You realize that you just said Abe has an overly large face, as the mask does not cover his face fully, as it should!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’m in Tokyo and our masks were delivered Friday.

Same, I'm in Ota. Just in time for the SoE to end! Makes you nervous about getting the paperwork for the money on time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got mine last week, but there are 4 in my family, and only 2 masks. They are small, too. Pretty much, we're getting some of our tax paying yen back anyway. We just gave them to our kids.

Many people have already made their own masks by now. All it takes is one family member and a sewing machine.

Yup. I've noticed that many have also made masks for their community. Great for them!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The state of emergency is being lifted, and many stores restocked on masks so they are widely available now. Seems a little late to receive a government mask now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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