Germany has largely abolished the legal obligation to wear masks, Japan never had one. Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the Japanese have consistently worn face masks, whether indoors or outdoors. Laws were not necessary for this. The state only issued recommendations.
But even those have been lifted since Monday. Only in medical facilities, nursing homes and on crowded public transportation must masks continue to be worn, according to the new guidelines. Observers, however, expect the country's citizens to maintain their previous habit of wearing masks everywhere - often even alone in cars - for the time being.
Japanese people have always attached extremely high importance to hygiene. Wearing a face mask, for example, when catching a cold so as not to infect others was common practice even before the Corona pandemic. So was bowing instead of shaking hands or taking off one's shoes before going inside. Even talking loudly on trains, which are chronically crowded in Japan's mega-cities like Tokyo, has always been considered impolite.
Under the new guidelines, the state continues to advise the public that masks protect people at higher risk for serious illness, including the elderly. However, airlines and public transportation will no longer require their customers to wear a mask.
The same applies to operators of large supermarket chains and convenience stores. Schools will also no longer require the wearing of a face mask from April 1st, the start of the new school year.
However, it is expected that customers at hairdressers, beauty salons and other services where the distance to customers is short will still be asked to wear masks.
Image by Tumisu