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Japan wants schools to promote student use of homemade masks when reopening

From left, signs for the Japan Sports Agency, the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology are seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kazuo Motohashi)

TOKYO -- Japan's education ministry on March 25 revealed a policy of urging schools to promote the use of handmade masks when they reopen for classes after closures due the spread of the new coronavirus.

A high-ranking ministry official said at a March 25 House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting, "We're asking (schools and local bodies) to consider making and using handmade masks so that children have access to masks." The ministry judged that it would be difficult for guardians to secure masks at shops as even high-priority medical institutions are suffering from shortages.

Yoji Maruyama, head of the ministry's Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, said, "I hope that schools, households and communities will cooperate on promoting the use of handmade masks and other countermeasures." He also expressed his desire that schools would have students make the masks in home economics classes.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on March 24 issued a guideline for the reopening of schools and recommended that everyone wear a mask while at the facilities. The guideline also introduces a website showing how to make handmade masks released by the education board of Tokushima Prefecture and others.

(Japanese original by Shinichi Akiyama, Political News Department)

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