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News Abenomasks still stirring up trouble - and costs


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
I'm sure Abe doesn't lose any sleep over this: the government is still storing around 80 million "Abenomasks", which were produced last year to bridge a temporary shortage of household masks when the coronavirus pandemic began. Apart from irregularities in the procurement, they were never popular to start with, and even public facilities and other institutions were reluctant to use them. The value of the stored cloth masks amounts to some 11.3 billion JPY (roughly 100 million USD), while the storage fees have risen to 600 million JPY (about 5.32 million USD). Yes, perhaps not a big deal in the overall picture, but definitely money that could have been spent more wisely.


Image credit: Tokyo Review

Shunya Ikeda, a medical policy professor at the International University of Health and Welfare, said, "In the coronavirus pandemic's early stages, mask demand was difficult to predict, and the Japanese government's decision to secure cloth masks was appropriate in terms of crisis management. But it is already clear that nonwoven masks are more effective than cloth ones, and it's a waste to keep cloth masks as part of coronavirus countermeasures. The government should consider the matter, including the masks' disposal." Yasuhiro Yuki, social welfare professor at Shukutoku University, said, "I suppose the government could have reduced procured amounts by considering that nonwoven masks were gradually being supplied. It cannot throw away goods purchased with taxes. I want the government to consider disassembling them to use the gauze material and cloth for nursing and other settings.

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