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Will Abenomasks help prevent coronavirus spread in Japan?

After initial skepticism, Western countries are also counting on face masks

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is distrubuting two cloth face masks to every household in Japan. The masks have been mockingly described by the public as "Abenomasks." (Collage by Yuki Kohara)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government has started deliveries of a pair of cloth face masks to each of the country's 50-plus million households, as part of its plan to slow the rapid spread of the new coronavirus.

With the program costing in excess of 400 million dollars, the masks have been mocked by the public as "Abenomasks" -- a play on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policies known as Abenomics. The move has been derided as petty and ineffective compared with steps in other countries such as lockdowns or greater economic incentives.

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