In early April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his first policy in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, a plan to distribute two whole masks to every household in the country. The plan, dubbed "Abenomask" (アベノマスク, literally "Abe's masks") was met with frustration from the start, angering residents with the weak response to the increasingly urgent pandemic, and inspiring internet users to create some memorable Abenomask memes
. Announced on April 1st, it almost seemed like an April Fool's joke.
In the intervening months, Abe finally announced the state of emergency called for by many in the general public, and the people of Japan have been learning how to live through the coronavirus pandemic
, buying out paper surgical masks and cute fabric masks
alike. A nearly 2-month state of emergency in Japan was announced and then ended, and people are now returning to school
and work. What most people haven't been taking advantage of, however, is the two gauze masks Abe promised to every household. Why? Well, for one, it's because most people hadn't even received them.