Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 over the last several months, surgical masks are scarce, worrying healthcare workers treating those infected with the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo promised two masks for every household across Japan, drawing backlash from many on social media and the hashtag #abenomask.

Then came the memes:

All jokes aside, there have been much more serious consequences caused by the mask shortage.

Back in March when some drug stores and supermarkets were still getting occasional shipments of masks, many people could be seen lined up in front of the stores before they opened. There have been stories of polite and orderly customers even sharing the last pack of masks with each other.

But not everyone has been so patient and considerate.

The Early Morning Drugstore Incident

Twitter user Makiburo (@otogi_zousi1203), who works at his local drug store, shared his own experience on March 22, leaving many shocked at the incident.

It was early morning and the store wasn’t open yet. An elderly person pried open the store’s automatic door entrance and invaded the store.

Upon entering the store, the customer found a shipment of masks and cried out, “They’ve got masks!” whereby more and more customers frantically ran into the store.

At that time, Makiburo was at home when he was contacted by his co-worker, who said,

Something terrible is happening...

Makiburo had no choice but to show up at work early to deal with the incident.

Due to this episode, the store posted a notice outside:


It states that the police will be notified if anyone enters the store or warehouse outside of business hours, as this is considered trespassing and obstruction of business.

Incidentally, it was reported that the masks at the store had been ordered not for sale to customers, but for a nearby nursing home and a private hospital that were unable to obtain masks on their own.

Viewer’s Comments

Many who saw Makiburo’s post commented in anger or shared similar experiences:

  • The same thing happened to me. Our store opened at 10 am, but a customer broke in by forcing open the automatic doors.
  • This calls for a shutter or some sort of alarm system. Even so, it’s sad that people are losing sight of their morals.
  • I also have to arrive at work an hour early each morning to post a list of received goods outside of the shop.
  • What a horrible story to hear. Thank you so much for your hard work.

It’s certainly been more and more difficult to get hold of masks these days and probably many of us are dealing with feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness.

To prevent incidents like this break-in, we all have to keep our cool and maintain a sense of solidarity, considering that others are in the same situation as ourselves.

By - Mujo.