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Policy revision ahead of summer
The Japanese government has relaxed its recommendations for mask use as part of an overhaul of its coronavirus policy. To that end, it has announced a list of situations where people should continue to wear face coverings, and others where they no longer need to do so.
The move comes as infection rates fall, and officials consider the risk of heatstroke in the coming summer months.
Importance of mask unchanged
The government's position that masks are vital to prevent infection remains fundamentally unchanged. For the time being, most people in Japan continue to wear them in public settings.
When and where to wear a mask
The new guidelines state that people do not need to wear masks outdoors, except when having close conversations. During summer, people are encouraged to remove their masks to prevent heatstroke.
Indoors, masks aren't needed as long as people are maintaining a distance of two meters from others and there is little to no conversation.
Masks are still required when visiting elderly people or anyone in hospital, during rush hour on public transport, and anywhere crowded.
Other infection prevention measures, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact, remain important. Individual facilities and institutions retain the right to set their own mask rules.
For school students
Elementary, junior high and high school students do not need to wear a mask when playing outside, as long as they maintain distance from others. The same applies to indoor situations where there is little to no conversation.
Masks are not required during outdoor physical education classes, at pools and inside gymnastic halls. They are also unnecessary while students are traveling to and from school, unless they use crowded public transport.
For extracurricular activities, individual sports associations are setting their own policies.
For young children
Masks are not recommended for children aged under two. There is no expectation for preschoolers to wear a mask, but if they do, parents and caregivers are urged to monitor them closely.
This information is accurate as of May 30, 2022.