A survey has found that 1 in 4 people in Japan said they will continue to wear face masks in all social settings, even after COVID-19 guidelines on face coverings were eased Monday, with those surveyed citing reasons such as infection prevention and habituation.

The move to leave decisions around mask-wearing to individuals is the latest effort by the government to "normalize" social and economic activities that have been under public health restrictions for the past three years, but the survey indicates that a drastic change in face-covering customs may not occur anytime soon.

Since the coronavirus pandemic accelerated in early 2020, mask-wearing has not been a legal requirement in Japan, but doing so has become a common practice among the public.