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Despite eased COVID restrictions, masks still popular with Japanese

By Lee Cleveland - March 12, 2023

Initially reported by JapanToday.com, the results of a survey show that a quarter of Japanese people intend to keep wearing masks in social situations even after the COVID-19 measures on face coverings are no longer necessary on Monday.

The online survey, conducted in February by Laibo Inc, an operator of a research institution focused on careers, stated 27.8 percent of 561 company employees in their 20s to 50s said they would continue to don face coverings “unconditionally.”

Although it was not formally enforced in Japan, masks have become a widespread practice since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. The public has shown a strong commitment to wearing protective face coverings, as it is seen as an essential measure for keeping everyone safe.

A game-time decision for most

The majority of people surveyed, 66 percent, expressed that they would decide whether or not to wear a mask depending on the situation, such as if other individuals are around or if they are eating.

And remarkably, only 5.5% stated that they wouldn’t put on a face covering no matter their social setting.

Currently, the government suggests wearing masks in enclosed settings, but not when outdoors.

Why are the Japanese so wed to masks?

Well, some still fear infection by other viruses while others have simply gotten used to it.

The results of a multiple-response question showed that over 53 percent insist that they would wear one “to prevent coronavirus infection,” followed by 50 percent who saw it as “a habit,” and 39 percent who wanted to prevent themselves “becoming infected from diseases other than the coronavirus.”

One respondent said, “I think many people will choose not to remove their face masks because it has become customary after wearing them for three years.”

The government recently issued new guidelines on the use of masks, specifically highlighting the benefit for institutional, healthcare, and transportation settings.

It also noted that people in vulnerable demographics such as the elderly, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing medical conditions should wear masks to reduce their chances of contracting a serious illness.

Most retailers and restaurants will leave it to customers to decide whether to wear face masks in their stores, but company employees will largely continue to wear them to give comfort to visitors.

It’s quite a bit different in Japan than in the United States, isn’t it?


Tags: Covid-19