Yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the government’s plan to provide face masks to 50 million households in Japan, targeting those in areas where the novel coronavirus is spreading. Each household will get two washable masks. Online, people are reacting this as they always do: with memes.
Stocks of disposable masks have been running low in Japan for months. People often line up early in the morning in front of drug stores when new shipments arrive.
“We believe (providing the reusable masks) will be helpful in responding to the rapidly increasing demand,” said Abe (via Mainichi).
Companies, including Sharp, have stepped up domestic mask production. Prior to this year’s pandemic, mask-wearing was common during the spring due to allergies. When suffering from standard colds, people in Japan also typically wear masks out of politeness and not to infect others.
However, a limit of two masks per household does seem like it will leave certain family members out—something that has spawned an array of meme-type images, often with the hashtag masuku 2-mai (マスク２枚) or “two masks.”
Be well, stay safe, and be sure to share with your other family members!