politics

Abe stops donning his 'Abenomask'

68 Comments

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared for the first time in public since April without wearing his much-touted government-sponsored mask, which has been derided as a symbol of his administration's out-of-step policy against the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of donning what became known as the "Abenomask," which was so small that it rode up on his face, Abe seemed more comfortable wearing one similar to commercially available ones, which fully covered the lower half of his face.

Abe's new cloth mask was made in Fukushima Prefecture. He wore it when he attended a government meeting to discuss responses to the pandemic held at his office.

"From now on, he will use various products," a source close to the office said in reference to the change.

Abe started wearing his Abenomask, a pun on his signature "Abenomics" economic policy mix, in April when the government started providing the washable cloth masks to every household to solve the mask shortage at the time.

The masks proved highly unpopular due to their poor quality and slow delivery, with billions of yen spent on the policy. So far 130 million of the masks have been provided to households nationwide.

Even as Japan's mask shortages have eased, the policy has continued to court controversy.

The administration is scrapping its plan to deliver an additional 80 million cloth masks to nursing homes and other facilities after opposition parties and some of the public criticized the move as inefficient and wasteful.

The government is now considering giving the masks only to those that wish for them and stockpiling the remainder.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

68 Comments
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This is hilarious, but I feel bad for all the leaders of the world in the spotlight amid this crisis. Is he wearing a mask? What kind of mask? Did he rub his nose? If so, how did he manage it?

As just another Jane Doe, I felt weird putting on a mask for the first time, it would have been much more difficult while being surrounded by the paparazzi

6 ( +13 / -7 )

No, don't stop wearing your dumb mask, keep wearing it. You made your bed at tax payers' expense, now lie in it.

28 ( +31 / -3 )

should call it obaka no mask

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Abe's new cloth mask was made in Fukushima Prefecture. He wore it when he attended a government meeting to discuss responses to the pandemic held at his office.

Show a little patriotism here Abe! Have Akie make you one! Or better yet, make one yourself, hell even elementary school kids are making their own masks. Right...cant can you! Always have to have people do things for you!

10 ( +16 / -6 )

No, don't stop wearing your dumb mask, keep wearing it. You made your bed at tax payers' expense, now lie in it.

No please, this is better, the world was laughing at him, and as much as I detest his government, it's embarrassing to be the laughing stock of the world...a leader who can't even get a mask large enough to fit his face!

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

I’m anti-mask, but if I had to wear one, it definitely wouldn’t be the pathetic thing that I was sent.

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Of course Abe's mask is made in Fukushima! To help remind them that he has done nothing but these kind of token acts, and has wasted so much money on other stupid things than truly helping the people of Fukushima!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

This storage must be huge, (we) paying to house masks we paid for and The Pemium Fridays, dozens of flightless arrows, crates of urges, promises. His Mario costume, boxes of altered government documents, Cherry blossom guest lists, and posters extorting Honest Abe.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Its possible he will be the only person to have ever worn an Abenomask. The ones I recieved are still in their package, and I have neveractually seen a person wearing one, except for Abe.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

His ‘3 arrows of economic recovery’ missed the target. His dealing with just one aspect of this crisis (masks, indeed Japan is THE mask country isn’t it??) has been an expensive joke. His Jurassic government’s response generally has been slow, too little too late, and ineffective. Where are the protests? Where is the clamouring for action? Where is the taking to task by the ... ahem, opposition??

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Tax payers paid for these usless items on a whim by our (not mine) leader, now have to pay for their storage for an unknown amount of time, and to add insult to injury we also have to pay this baffon a huge salery and retirement benefits. The masks will be in storage well after he has gone. He has a legacy now.....in storage.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Yubaru wrote:

hell even elementary school kids are making their own masks

This is not true.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

Is it true that they shrink after washing?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lukebeston - No, Yubaru is right, even elemetary school children are making their own masks in Japan.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It’s August and I still haven’t received my Abenomasks. What’s wrong with this government?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

My son made a mask at elementary school in home economics class. All the kids in his class did. He's in sixth grade.

As government mistakes go, wasting money is not that big a one, so someone in the government so come out and own this one. Why such low quality? Why one size and so small? Why so slow given that they are such low quality?

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Who got the cash to make these masks? Apparently a company belonging to Aso, no need to go further as to why this absurd agenda was pushed despite massive rejection.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

From 'Abenomics' to 'Abenomask' to 'Abe no mask'.

Would be hilarious if it wasn't such a tragic thing claiming innocent lives.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

LOL at the comments.

Yet Japan has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. How is the west doing?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Finally got the message has he?

Such a waste of taxpayers' money.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

No please, this is better, the world was laughing at him, and as much as I detest his government, it's embarrassing to be the laughing stock of the world...a leader who can't even get a mask large enough to fit his face!

After he wasted all that money on his Abenomask and only now changed to a proper one, the whole world is laughing at him even harder as it took him 5 months to realize his mistake. For 5 months they were pushing it as an answer to the spread of the virus!!!! Shows how slow his government is in adapting to changing situations, his Abenomask should have never been allowed to see daylight!!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

LukebestonToday  09:05 am JST

Yubaru wrote:

hell even elementary school kids are making their own masks

This is not true.

Sterling defense of your view there- All the elementary schools IN MY AREA are assiduously training the students multiple ways to make masks using everyday, freely available things.

Sorry, what was your corroborating evidence again?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

SOME elementary school students may have made masks because they were TOLD to make one, yes.

These kids had no other choice, so it is not smart to criticize Abe based on that casual observation.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Forcing us to pay for something we don't need and don't want during a time when funding is needed elsewhere says it all about the truth of this mask program. Just one corrupt thing on a never ending list of scandals.

I do not agree that LDP's response to this pandemic has been off the mark, because it was never intended to be on any mark. It was intended as yet another opportunity to steal taxpayers' money for those self-serving criminals in power. Meanwhile Japan is sinking into deeper depth. The political leadership in this country is toxic.

What baffles me is why there is never any push back from the people or the opposition? Why are people not taking it to the streets?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

 Why are people not taking it to the streets?

I guess that is because the fatality rate in this pandemic is still low.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

LukebestonToday  10:27 am JST

SOME elementary school students may have made masks because they were TOLD to make one, yes.

These kids had no other choice, so it is not smart to criticize Abe based on that casual observation.

So it IS true then- SOME elementary schools students ARE making masks.

Glad we cleared that up.

The Japanese tax payer had no other choice than to pay for the completely superfluous Abenomasks either.

Perhaps if they hadn't been so late and of such an inferior quality elementary school students wouldn't have had to learn to make decent masks for themselves.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Masks is just a scheme to funnel more money into politician’s bank accounts. Now that they’ve received all the kick-backs, the masks is no longer needed.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

SOME elementary school students may have made masks because they were TOLD to make one, yes.

But you made the following statement here, right?

This is not true.

ANd now you walk back YOUR mistake by saying this?

These kids had no other choice, so it is not smart to criticize Abe based on that casual observation.

Give it up, you assumed something not written. And you obviously know little if anything about "Little Lord Fauntleroy Abe"

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Politik

Where is the taking to task by the ... ahem, opposition??

What do you want the opposition to do when the media and the populace are resigned and uninterested. If you have been following deliberation in the diet you won't be putting blame on the opposition. In any other democratic country the LDP would have been booted from power with the catalog of scandals, waste and disdain for the populace.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It’s August and I still haven’t received my Abenomasks. What’s wrong with this government?

Mine is collecting dust somewhere in my home, you can have mine postage free.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Orac

Yet Japan has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world. How is the west doing?

Yeah, if only you believe the data provided by the bureaucrats in kasumigaseki. Has the lowest unemployment rate and crime rate.

Image is all that matters and not the welfare of the people.

Oh, forgot has the lowest pcr testing rate even senegal and uganda are doing better.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

“The ones I recieved are still in their package, and I have neveractually seen a person wearing one, except for Abe.”

I did once or twice. Partly to show how absurd they are.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“What baffles me is why there is never any push back from the people or the opposition? Why are people not taking it to the streets?”

I often wonder the same. About a million protested in Germany recently against lockdown policies. Apparently the numbers were understated.

Would love to see the same in Japan of course https://youtu.be/GlXxU1b3dXs

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why such low quality? Why one size and so small? Why so slow given that they are such low quality?

Indeed . This is a very industrially developed country and your questions are spot on.

It was a bit embarrassing but..

It is important to not forget that back in those days there were mixed feelings about the use of masks. WHO in fact, went so far and said the masks will only create a false sense of security and therefore people will stop washing hands which in return will accelerate the spread.

Japan was one of countries that openly went against this nonsense and on time identified the importance of wearing masks.

The masks made in China weren't as available as they are now so I reckon the goverment needed something quick, cheap, enough, distributed and made in Japan. The end product was Abenomask.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In the near future the masks will be incinerated and produce a lot of pollutants that will end up in the lungs of the people-disgraceful!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oh, forgot has the lowest pcr testing rate even senegal and uganda are doing better.

Oh no ! I think this is because maniacal PCR testing is counter proportional to IQ.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@goodlucktoyou

You May call it anti mask, but those of us on the other side call it unreasonable, stubborn and selfish

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What baffles me is why there is never any push back from the people or the opposition? Why are people not taking it to the streets?

what - the japanese protest their own government? You must be kidding. Theyll get out there for BLM though.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I’m anti-mask, but if I had to wear one, it definitely wouldn’t be the pathetic thing that I was sent.

Thanks for your contribution to contain the spread of Covid-19. You may have contracted the virus and spread it around without even knowing it. Rights and Freedoms! Yeehaw!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Give it up, you assumed something not written. And you obviously know little if anything about "Little Lord Fauntleroy Abe"

You clearly wrote the first statement as a generalized statement.

No elementary students are making masks, at least not voluntarily.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I suggest that some of you learn to pay respect to what the government has done.

Look at what the CDC in the U.S. initially said about masks. They told its people that they did not have to wear masks.

Japan is handling this a lot better.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

OracToday  10:02 am JST

LOL at the comments.

Yet Japan has one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.

That's nice. Would you explain how the Japanese government has managed to keep it so low?

How is the west doing?

Irrelevant.

LukebestonToday  03:09 pm JST

I suggest that some of you learn to pay respect to what the government has done.

Look at what the CDC in the U.S. initially said about masks. They told its people that they did not have to wear masks.

Japan is handling this a lot better.

Wearing masks was already customary here. The public hardly needed much telling so it's hardly a major success on the government's part.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

N1K1

The masks made in China weren't as available as they are now so I reckon the goverment needed something quick, cheap, enough, distributed and made in Japan. The end product was Abenomask.

Wrong, Abenomask wasn't made in Japan. The mask meant for welfare homes that the government was forced to abandon distribution was ordered in June when mask had become readily available in the market and was clear the mask was small and unused and a total waste of money. Making Abe buddies rich was the prime motive else an additional order in June.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wearing masks was already customary here. The public hardly needed much telling so it's hardly a major success on the government's part.

I disagree, because the government helped reinforce the mask wearing culture by sending them for free.

The government REMINDED us that it is extremely important to wear masks to stop the spread of the virus.

That is quite an accomplishment.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

I suggest that some of you learn to pay respect to what the government has done.

Tell us what the government has done.?

Maybe to you, competing with heavy weight economic giants like Senegal and Uganda for the most pcr test is commendable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tell us what the government has done

Distributing masks obviously and thereby reinforcing the mask culture, That is THE topic of this thread.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Whether he wears a toy mask or not, just look at fatality figures, he must have made some right decisions somewhere along the line

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

LukebestonToday  03:37 pm JST

I disagree, because the government helped reinforce the mask wearing culture by sending them for free.

The government REMINDED us that it is extremely important to wear masks to stop the spread of the virus.

That is quite an accomplishment.

I think we have very different ideas about what constitutes an accomplishment. I am personally doubtful that Japanese people would have behaved much differently if the government had taken no such measures, which have been so ineptly implemented they've invited more ridicule than praise.

LamillyToday  04:01 pm JST

Whether he wears a toy mask or not, just look at fatality figures, he must have made some right decisions somewhere along the line

Must have? Maybe not, given that you haven't cited any.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Whether he wears a toy mask or not, just look at fatality figures, he must have made some right decisions somewhere along the line

Absolutely not. All we know is that he did not do anything abysmally wrong concerning the virus and that's all. Viruses do not ask government permission for anything they do. And I have not heard of a single government decision that truly separated Japan from say Italy or the U.S.

The behavior of Japanese people however shows a great difference in attitude and action and that is due to their culture and has very little to do with the government at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Got mine, NEVER used after hearing it was infected.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Would like to send it back and get a refund into the treasury.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I disagree, because the government helped reinforce the mask wearing culture by sending them for free.

Only said by someone who knows nothing about the culture here and wants to attempt to impress people with his ignorance.

You obviously have never lived here through a "regular" flu season! lol!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think we have very different ideas about what constitutes an accomplishment. I am personally doubtful that Japanese people would have behaved much differently if the government had taken no such measures, which have been so ineptly implemented they've invited more ridicule than praise

Yes, I agree that we disagree.

On the back of the mask package, it says “Always be aware that you may be infected yourself (you may be on the GIVING end).” This was a very important message especially when most people were only thinking about the protective effects of masks.

The fact that the word Anenomask was coined also proved that the government has succeeded in its campaign. It did contribute to increasing the mask-wearing population, no matter what mask they choose to wear.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You obviously have never lived here through a "regular" flu season! lol!

OK, where is YOUR corroborating evidence for that?

There is no need to be rude, Yubaru-kun.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“what - the japanese protest their own government? You must be kidding. Theyll get out there for BLM though.”

Sadly true. Anything trendy like BLM, absolutely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Wearing masks was already customary here. The public hardly needed much telling so it's hardly a major success on the government's part.”

Agreed. I wear the damned things only when I must.

There are those who wear them all day long, getting “used to” their muzzles. Troubling sign

2 ( +2 / -0 )

LukebestonToday  07:45 am JST

Yes, I agree that we disagree.

On the back of the mask package, it says “Always be aware that you may be infected yourself (you may be on the GIVING end).” This was a very important message especially when most people were only thinking about the protective effects of masks.

Can you actually prove that this actually had any effect, e.g. by citing evidence such as a reliable poll that indicates that people started wearing masks because of such warnings?

The fact that the word Anenomask was coined also proved that the government has succeeded in its campaign.

I always thought that the "no" in Abenomask" was a reference to the fact that hardly any of the things had been delivered. In principle I don't disagree with what they were trying to do, but it was so ineptly implemented that I think the loss of public trust offset any questionable benefits the program might have had. I think you will find it very hard to persuade anyone that it was in fact a major success.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

if these are poor quality why would you trust the storage quality?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OK, where is YOUR corroborating evidence for that?

There is no need to be rude, Yubaru-kun.

Well Grasshopper, it's not being "rude" when it's a fact.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can you actually prove that this actually had any effect, e.g. by citing evidence such as a reliable poll that indicates that people started wearing masks because of such warnings?

You have not read the message that came in with the mask, have you?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well Grasshopper, it's not being "rude" when it's a fact.

The government campaign had an effect in changing people’s mind about the danger of being the GIVING end of the virus.

A majority of Japanese used to wear masks for OWN PROTECTION.

Now they are wearing them to PROTECT OTHERS.

So the mask-donning culture has definitely changed even in Japan, due to the effort of the government.

That is another fact you are failing to see.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

LukebestonAug. 4  06:10 am JST

You have not read the message that came in with the mask, have you?

It makes no difference whether I have or not. The existence of a message doesn't prove your point that people's attitudes have changed.

LukebestonAug. 4  06:26 am JST

A majority of Japanese used to wear masks for OWN PROTECTION.

Now they are wearing them to PROTECT OTHERS.

So the mask-donning culture has definitely changed even in Japan, due to the effort of the government.

That is another fact you are failing to see.

We can't see facts when you are offering is unsubstantiated opinions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I mean, "when all you're offering is unsubstantiated opinions."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A majority of Japanese used to wear masks for OWN PROTECTION.

This is just plain wrong. Maybe the majority of times that a mask was worn was to protect ones self, but that’s because so many people wear them to protect from hay fever. As for the people though, they’ve been taught for decades to put on a mask if you feel a cough or unwell, to protect others. Literally common knowledge in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

StrangerlandToday  06:45 am JST

This is just plain wrong. Maybe the majority of times that a mask was worn was to protect ones self, but that’s because so many people wear them to protect from hay fever. As for the people though, they’ve been taught for decades to put on a mask if you feel a cough or unwell, to protect others. Literally common knowledge in Japan.

It must be hard supporting the Abe administration, mustn't it, always having to try and spin major triumphs out of nothing at all. If I had nothing more to go on than a message on a mask packet I think I would just give up and concede that they really are just a bunch of clueless, out-of-touch incompetents who make a great argument for mandatory retirement at 55.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apart from the PM has anyone here seen anyone wear an Abe mask in the real world? I haven’t. They are too small.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It makes no difference whether I have or not. The existence of a message doesn't prove your point that people's attitudes have changed

Then, read and think about what effect it must have had on the mindset of the Japanese.

We have already agreed that our standards of judgement about the effect of the campaign are different.

We, including myself, may have worn masks in the flu season before, but it was for protecting myself. Now I am wearing one because I was educated by the government. I hate to admit it, but they have succeeded in changing my mind. I am one of the many.

Feel free to disagree,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is just plain wrong. Maybe the majority of times that a mask was worn was to protect ones self, but that’s because so many people wear them to protect from hay fever. As for the people though, they’ve been taught for decades to put on a mask if you feel a cough or unwell, to protect others. Literally common knowledge in Japan.

You are talking about the 60s and 70s.

Tons of HEALTHY people started wearing masks in Japan during the outbreak of the new influenza.

This relatively NEW mask culture has changed yet again due to the government campaign.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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