Gov't persists with 'Abenomask' giveaway, reigniting social media outcry

Japan Today -- Jul 29
Japan's government is pushing ahead with the distribution of its much derided masks even though commercially made masks are now readily available, prompting a renewed outcry on social media.

Dubbed the "Abenomask", which means Abe's mask and is a pun on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" program, the washable gauze mask has been criticized as ill fitting with quality issues and as a waste of public money.

First introduced amid a mask shortage as the coronavirus spread in Japan, some 130 million have been distributed to households and the government is still working on sending out 80 million of a planned 157 million to facilities such as nursing homes and day care centers.

"Using taxes like this is no laughing matter," comedian Zenjiro said in a Twitter post. His tweet was one of more than 100,000 after an Asahi newspaper report about the continued distribution of the masks.

Asked about the program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters: "The masks are relatively low cost and help curb demand."

- Japan Today