Face masks can foster a false sense of security
Japan Times -- Mar 29
What’s happening in Japan is written all over our faces — our blank, expressionless, masked faces. Never before, it seems safe to say, have so many people gone about masked.

Thus we confront the microbes that assault us.

Are the microbes disconcerted? It seems not.

“As self-protection, your mask is practically useless,” says Shukan Gendai magazine this month. Commercial face masks, medical authorities say, can block particles measuring 3 to 5 micrometers. Wear it against pollen, by all means. The coronavirus currently raging, however, measures 0.1 micrometer.

A country that porously defended would be helpless indeed, barring very adroit diplomacy. That’s out of the question here.

Why is a mask like a hospital waiting room? Because both foster a false sense of security.

“The most dangerous place is not the concert venue or the packed commuter train,” Shukan Gendai says. “It’s the hospital waiting room.”

It stands to reason. All close, confined, crowded spaces are viral. How much the more so a refuge for the sick? And yet the magazine finds, to its horror, waiting rooms crowded as usual with outpatients keeping nonessential medical engagements that could easily be put off.

A Tokyo orthopedic surgeon’s clinic is a case in point. It’s packed early one morning with 70-odd people, mostly elderly, waiting their turn for rehabilitation therapy.

“The female therapists are very friendly and very conscientious,” says a 71-year-old patient. “And with everything covered by insurance, coming here has become almost an everyday habit.”

He’s masked, of course. Everyone is masked. The doctors must know, though the patients may not, how little that’s worth — but business proceeds as usual, with waits as long as four hours shrugged off as an agreeable way to pass the time. “I have lots of ‘rehab friends,’” the patient says, “so it’s always pleasant to be here.”

In 2018, 18,560 people nationwide were infected in hospitals by antibiotic-resistant microbes, statistics cited by the magazine show.

News source: Japan Times
May 30
The number of foreigners staying in Japan under a new visa for workers with specified skills totaled 3,987 as of the end of March, less than a tenth of the maximum set by the government in the first year of its introduction, immigration authorities said Friday. (Kyodo)
May 28
Seventy percent of Japanese prefectural boards of education say schooling will be limited in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the government's lifting of the state of emergency, a Nikkei survey has found. (Nikkei)
May 25
The threat of sexual harassment is an all-too-real concern for Japan's student job hunters, and it is sometimes university alumni who use promises of patronage to abuse their position of trust. (Japan Today)
May 24
The health ministry plans to raise subsidies for governments that bolster staff at child consultation centers to help them deal with the surge in child-support demand caused by the coronavirus, informed sources say. (Japan Times)
May 23
The government has set an additional criterion for foreign students hoping to receiving cash handouts of up to Y200,000 ($1,900) for students struggling financially amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, making only those in the top 30 percent of grades eligible. (Japan Times)
May 20
The Cabinet approved Tuesday a program to provide up to ¥200,000 ($1,900) in a cash handout to each of around 430,000 university and other students in the nation struggling financially to pay for tuition or living costs amid the spread of the new coronavirus. (Japan Times)
May 20
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted authorities worldwide to introduce entry restrictions on border traffic. But regulations in Japan have sparked a particularly strong reaction from its international community, as it is the only Group of Seven member denying entry to long-term and permanent residents and has set no clear criteria for their return. (Japan Times)
May 19
Adam Fulford is our guest today. He's been living in Japan for many years and has seen a lot, experienced a lot and will share his stories with us today. From NHK to projects in Tohoku, Japan's "Bubble Era" to the 21st century, get ready for some history! (ONLY in JAPAN)
May 19
Schools in many regions across the nation reopened Monday with staggered attendance, in preparation for a full-scale restart of classes, following the government’s lifting of the state of emergency in 39 of the nation’s 47 prefectures last Thursday. (Japan Times)
May 17
If you’ve lived and worked in Japan–especially as an English teacher in Japanese schools, then you might know that the high-tech image of Japan is still somewhat of an illusion. (soranews24.com)