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Japan PM’s free mask plan slammed

Crush: Masks in the packed Japan parliament PICTURE: MASATOSHI OKAUCH/REX

JAPAN’S prime minister has been derided for failing to declare a state of emergency — instead offering free masks.

Shinzo Abe said cloth masks will be sent to the country’s more than 50million families, adding: ‘You can use soap to wash and re-use them, so this should be a good response to the sudden, huge demand.’

But social media users were scathing, with one tweeting: ‘Is the Japanese government for real? This is a total waste of tax money.’ Mr Abe has warned Japan is ‘barely holding the line’ against the pandemic, as critics accused him of a sluggish response.