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Japan gov't spokesperson doesn't wear Abenomasks because they look 'too warm'

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is seen taking his mask off during a news conference on Aug. 6, 2020. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Japan's top spokesperson said during an Aug. 7 online program that he hasn't been wearing government-distributed cloth masks because they looked "too warm."

    During the "GenRon TV" program, hosted by conservative journalist Yoshiko Sakurai, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was asked why he had not been wearing the infamous cloth masks mockingly dubbed "Abenomasks" (Abe's masks) -- a play on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's signature "Abenomics," economic policy mix -- that have been distributed to every household in the country.

    Sakurai said, "Why don't Cabinet members wear Abenomasks? I feel sorry when I think about how Mr. Abe must feel. Why don't you wear them?" Suga replied, "Naturally, I wear masks because wearing them can prevent infections, but I don't use cloth masks. They look too warm."

    Sakurai then told him, "It's important to show symbolically that you (Cabinet members) are joining forces. I want you to keep that in mind," to which Suga replied, "I understand."

    Suga has sported a cloth mask with patterns associated with Japan's indigenous Ainu people at press conferences, but generally wears regular non-woven fabric masks.

    (Japanese original by Shinichi Akiyama, Political News Department)

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