Chinese netizens urge Japanese to save masks, protect themselves

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/19 19:48:40

A 14-year-old Japanese girl raises donations for Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province and epicenter of outbreak of the novel coronavirus, on Saturday in Tokyo, Japan. She did the same on Sunday. Photo: Courtesy of the Executive Committee of the Tokyo Lantern Full Moon Festival Ikebukuro 2020

"Please spare some masks for yourselves and adopt stronger measures to contain the virus," Chinese netizens urged Japanese, after the latter reportedly faced a severe shortage of masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection, as Japan seemed "on cusp of an epidemic." 

The rise of COVID-19 in Japan has attracted attention and concerns from China, not only because of the two countries' geographic proximity, but also because Chinese netizens, who are deeply touched by Japan's donation to China in battling the virus, are worried the latter may face a shortage of masks to protect themselves. 

Media reported that 614 people in Japan have contracted the virus as of Tuesday. 

In the latest update, passengers on the virus-hit Diamond Prince moored near Tokyo began disembarking on Wednesday after a two-week quarantine that saw more than 500 people contract the virus. 

Many Chinese netizens feared this may deteriorate the already serious epidemic in Japan. Hashtag "COVID-19 saw outbreak in Japan" trended on Chinese social media with 1.05 billion views as of press time. 

Some urged the Japanese government to adopt stronger measures to contain the virus, after they saw Japanese government being lax about the containment and did not ban large-scale public gatherings, such as the "naked festival," which attracted thousands of half-naked men on Friday. 

Many netizens urged Japan to spare some masks for themselves.

"If handled improperly, Japan, a country with  a much denser population than China, may soon lose control. Please take care of yourselves Japan, and save some masks for yourselves," a netizen said on China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo. 

A Japanese national Nakamura told the Global Times that there has been a mask shortage in Japan. 

"[The situation is] largely due to the virus, and Japanese like to wear masks especially in winter and want more than needed. Many are panicking.  Moreover, large amounts of masks in the Japanese market were imported from China, which has virtually stopped for now. 

He said masks have become very expensive online due to the coronavirus.

Four boxes containing face masks were stolen from the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the western port city of Kobe, a hospital official said on Tuesday. 

He Qin, a Chinese who lives in Osaka, said that several Chinese were grouping together to buy masks and resell them to China at a much higher price. And the same practice has also been adopted by some Japanese online sellers.

"Those people should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of the viral disaster, when the whole world is making efforts to fight it," He said. 

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