When do we take off the masks?

When do we take off the mask?


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection is now under control in Japan, and people are enjoying spring holidays for the first time in two years. Therefore, the Japanese government and medical authorities are discussing when the usage of masks can be stopped.


The United States and many European countries have lifted mask restrictions, but only for people who are vaccinated; most people no longer wear masks on trains or at concerts. This must be a welcome situation for them, as many people in Japan continue to wear masks even when they do not need to.


Even before cases of COVID-19 were observed in Japan, masks were used to protect oneself from infection or various other reasons. Masks are a useful tool and a “must-have item” in our lives;  therefore, we have no hesitation while wearing masks.


We are accustomed to wearing masks for more than two years now because of COVID-19, and masks have become an integral part of our lives .


Even after the mask mandate is lifted, most of the Japanese population may continue to wear masks because of peer pressure, as we try to blend in.


Many people feel more comfortable or safe wearing masks because they do not have to put on make-up to show their faces. This is specifically true for teenagers, who are often sensitive to others opinions.


However, I do not believe that wearing masks daily is natural. We should take them off as soon as possible and get back to our normal routine.


We must consider the impact of masks on social and emotional development of school children, and the effects it could have on them.


Many parents are concerned that wearing masks might negatively impact the social and emotional development of their children. Some scholars believe that seeing the mouth is essential for language development and that children cannot read most expressions on masked faces.


To reduce the transmission of COVID-19, Japanese children are accustomed to wearing masks, even when playing outside or in the gym.


However, given the current situation, the Japanese government has declared that wearing masks outdoors is not mandatory as long as social distancing is practiced. 

Furthermore, as summer approaches, the risk of heat stroke increases. The government recommends people take off their masks outside as long as social distance is maintained, specifically when temperature and humidity are high. We should certainly go back to normal life before summer.


Posted on May 22, 2022 by Kumiko

Masked woman
by Shihoko Moritani