A special committee within the Japanese government is considering issuing new guidelines that would, among other things, recommend that children aged two and over wear face masks "whenever possible," according to the Kyodo news agency.
If approved, the measure will apply primarily to kindergartens and after-school facilities for primary school students.
The draft recommendations cited by journalists leave room for exceptions, however, stating that "children" do not have to "insist on wearing masks" when they feel sick or find it difficult to wear them all the time. Children under the age of two will continue to be excluded, with officials citing suffocation and heatstroke as potential hazards.
Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, stressed the importance of reducing the transmission of infections among the very young and the elderly. He warned that while "the number of new coronavirus cases is starting to decline among the younger generations", the situation will not improve "unless we see a declining trend among children and the elderly."
The news comes at a time when the highly contagious Omicron is gaining momentum in Japan. On Thursday, the country recorded more than 100.000 daily infections for the first time.
At present, many day care centers in Japan have had to close their doors temporarily due to the rapid spread of the virus.
In many countries there are instructions for a mask for school children. However, they mainly affect the older age groups.
In addition, the mandatory use of face masks in schools has proven to be an extremely divisive issue, with some parents strongly opposed to the measure.