Mask usage remains high in Hiroshima, despite change in official advice

May 29, 2021

A week after the government indicated that the wearing of masks was no long necessary in outdoor, non-conversational situations Chugoku Shinbun reporters surveyed mask usage at two locations in the center of Hiroshima City on May 27.

Despite the new government guidance, out of the around 900 people observed, over 90% were wearing masks. Reasons given included, “I’m worried about the way people look at me” and “Because there are so many infected people” were raised. (Mitsuo Shimotaka and Kei Kinugawa)

Between 11:00-11:30am, they counted 844 people crossing the Hondori intersection from west to east with 822 (97.4%) wearing masks. 14 (1.7%) were without masks. 8 (1.0%) were wearing “chin masks.”

They also observed a less crowded area, along the east side of Peace Memorial Park for 30 minutes between 9:00am and 9:30am a.m. Of the 73 people surveyed, 63 (86.3%) were wearing masks. A total of 10 people (13.7%) were wearing no mask or chin masks, a higher percentage than at intersections. 7 of them on bicycles.

The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) considers the wearing of masks to be a basic measure to prevent infection, but has deemed it unnecessary in situations such as passing people outdoors with little or no conversation. Although a Kyodo News poll found nearly 70% of respondents said this was “appropriate” and “should be more relaxed,” people don’t seem ready to shed their masks just yet.

Some of the people the newspaper interviewed said that they were still worried about high COVID-19 infection rates, while others pointed to feeling social pressure to continue wearing masks. Others were either not wearing them outside or complained that, as it gets hotter, it is getting more difficult to breathe while wearing a mask.

Has your personal mask wearing policy changed recently?

Source: Chugoku Shinbun