Temporary School Closures due to the Novel Coronavirus, Many in Support

Temporary School Closures due to the Novel Coronavirus, Many in Support

A Survey by Fukui Shimbun

On February 28th, as a countermeasure against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released a notice to every prefecture’s Board of Education, officially requesting a temporary school closure at once. Upon this notice, Fukui Shimbun carried out an electronic survey in the same afternoon to approximately 70,000 Fukui Shimbun Passport members. Regarding the topic of “Temporary school closure”, 25.9% of responded with “Oppose” while an overwhelming 46.4% responded with “Support”.

The survey provided three options: “Support”, “Oppose”, and “Neither”; in addition, respondents were asked to provide their reason. Within three hours, 675 surveys returned from within and outside Fukui Prefecture, with 54.1% female respondents, 44.9% male respondents, and 1% as neither.

Among the different age brackets, the one with the most leaning towards “Support” was the “70 or over” group at 60.4%, followed by “60 – 69” with 56.6%, and “50 – 59” with 49.7%. Many expressed their reluctance in supporting the action:

“We may be told that we’re making a big deal about this, but I think it’s better to be cautious.” (Fukui City, male, 70 or over)

“It can’t be helped.” (Fukui City, male, 60 – 69)

“I think it will help as a countermeasure, but I’m worried about children who will end up staying at home.” (Fukui City, male, 40 – 49)

According to gender, 38.1% of female respondents replied “Support”, while the percentage among male respondents was about 18 point higher at 56.4%.

The age brackets leaning most towards “Oppose” were “10 -19” and “20 – 29”. There were various comments as follows:

“A graduation ceremony without the other current students will be sad. I wanted to be with everyone again one last time.” (Sakai City, female, 10 – 19)

“There’s no meaning unless nursery schools and companies take a break as well.” (Minamiechizen Town, female, 20 – 29)

“Isn’t this going too far, as there still hasn’t been an infected person within Fukui Prefecture?” (Fukui City, male, 40 – 49)

“Until some actual leadership takes place, closing down schools is only going to cause chaos.” (Echizen City, male, 50 – 59)

Comprising 27.7% of the total respondents replied “Neither”, with some comments expressing grief.

“Even if the children take a break, there’s still a chance for infection to spread among the adults.” (Sabae City, female, 40 – 49)

“This measure is too rigid. I wish there was more leeway in how this was carried out.” (Sabae City, female, 20 – 29)

“There are no play areas during the weekdays. Even if children can go to their friend’s home, there’s still going to be some trouble. The children will grow irritated, and stress will build up. The same goes for the parents.” (Sakai City, female, 30 – 39)

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1038371

No Issue in Toilet Paper Supply

No Issue in Toilet Paper Supply

Industry Groups and the Novel Coronavirus

On February 28th, the Japan Household Paper Industry Association released a statement concerning the hoarding of tissue and toilet paper, as part of the reaction to the increased infection of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“There will absolutely be no problem in supply, as long as we avoid excessive purchases. We wish for everyone to remain composed.”

The response was made by an associate in charge of covering joint communications. The response also stated that manufacturers have not been affected by the current situation.

Toilet paper distributed within the country are mostly produced in Japan, with very few imported from overseas, including from China. As for tissue paper, in terms of regular use, there is about two months worth of supply domestically.

“Masks are made from different materials, and the percentage of masks made from overseas as low. Stocks will not be depleted,” stressed the associate.

According to a major manufacturer, since February 27th, there has been a surge of inquiries such as, “Why are shop stocks empty?” and “What is the production status?”

In a press conference on February 28th, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Naoki Okada addressed the current situation in which production and supply are at normal levels, and called out to the public,

“I wish for everyone’s cooperation to prevent the situation where supply becomes unavailable to those who really need it, because of acts such as buying up all the products and reselling.”

In Kumamoto Prefecture’s Kumamoto City, where toilet paper is selling out in quick succession, City Mayor Kazufumi Onishi made a request in a press conference and on Twitter for everyone to avoid hoarding and to remain calm.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1038360