The state only issued recommendations. But those have also been lifted since Monday. According to the new guidelines, masks only have to be worn in medical facilities, nursing homes and on crowded public transport. However, observers expect the country’s citizens to keep their previous habit of wearing masks everywhere – often alone in the car – for the time being. The Japanese have always attached great importance to hygiene. Wearing a face mask when you have a cold, for example, so as not to infect others, was common even before the corona pandemic. Just like bowing instead of shaking hands or taking off your shoes before going into the house. Talking loudly on trains, which are chronically overcrowded in Japan’s megacities like Tokyo, has always been considered impolite.
Under the new guidelines, the state continues to advise the population that masks protect people at higher risk of serious illnesses, including the elderly. However, airlines and public transport will no longer ask 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 will still be asked to wear masks at hairdressers, beauty salons and other services where distance is close.