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One in four women in Japan have increased their stockpiles of face masks, alcohol for disinfection and other goods due to the spread of COVID-19, a Japan Weather Association survey has shown.

The government has recommended the public stockpile at home items needed to prevent novel coronavirus infections in preparation for a possible natural disaster. Experts have also said it is unclear whether shelters will have enough stocks of such goods.

The association conducted its second online survey about disaster stockpiling on Aug. 13 ahead of the country's Disaster Prevention Day on Tuesday, seeking responses from women in their 20s to 40s and receiving valid answers from 300.

It found that 24.7 percent of the respondents had newly stockpiled or boosted their stockpiles of items used to prevent novel coronavirus infections. Many referred to face masks, antiseptics and disinfectant wipes.

The proportion of respondents saying they knew that at least a three-day supply of food and water for all household members was necessary to prepare for a disaster stood at 51.0 percent, up 4.2 percentage points from the previous survey in 2018.

Those who said they had either an adequate stockpile or had stockpiled to a certain level accounted for 30.3 percent, up 9.5 points.

Separately, Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo Healthcare Co. conducted an online survey mainly on disaster management in July.

Of its 795 male and female respondents in their 20s to 50s, 53.2 percent said that anxiety over disasters had grown since the spread of the virus.

The survey also found that over half of the respondents had started buying face masks, toilet paper and food items to boost their stockpiles for a disaster scenario.

In June, the government updated its emergency stockpile checklist for the general public, posted on the prime minister's website, adding face masks to the list of items that should be in an emergency bag.

"It's too late to start preparations when danger is imminent," said Nobue Kunizaki, who heads an institution for crisis management.

She suggested testing preparations by trying out a camp-like arrangement at home, stopping the use of tap water and electricity for a while, to identify items that need to be stockpiled.

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