MAYOR of Osaka Ichiro Matsui has suggested that one way of slowing down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is for men to grocery shopping as women spend too long in stores thus spreading the virus further.
Although Japan has 13,100 confirmed cases, its casualty rate has been very low with only 330 fatalities from the pandemic. There has been a spoke in recent weeks, however, dashing hopes that the government’s initial virus response had succeeded in controlling its spread and removing the hopes of a lifting of movement restrictions.
Suggesting an alternative means to controlling the spread, Mr Matsui, the mayor of Japan’s third largest city, said men would make more effective grocery shoppers than women. he implied that male grocery shoppers would reduce the potential spread of the virus as they would spend less time in shops.
Mr Matsui said: “Women take a longer time grocery shopping because they browse through different products and weigh out which option is best. Men quickly grab what they’re told to buy so they won’t linger at the supermarket and that avoids close contact with others.”
Women account for more than 51% of the Japanese population, according to World Bank data. However, Mayor Matsui’s comments have attracted fierce criticism from women’s groups who have accused him of knowing nothing about daily life, suggesting that he has probably never gone shopping himself.
Osaka has been under a state of emergency since April 7 and it has been suggested that supermarkets limit the number of people entering stores where possible and the public only shop for groceries once every two to three days. Many Japanese commentators have accused the government of not reacting decisively enough to the pandemic.