The ad, appearing in three national newspapers on Tuesday (May 11) morning and paid for by a publisher known for taking stances on social and political issues, shows an illustration of the coronavirus overlaid on a black and white World War Two era photo of Japanese children training to fight with sticks.
"No vaccine, no medication. Are we supposed to fight with bamboo spears? If this continues, politics are going to kill us," the ad says, noting that the public has endured a year of restrictions while the virus has continued to spread.
The full-page ad by magazine publisher Takarajimasha was a rare rebuke of the country's pandemic response by a private company. The Tokyo-based company said in a news release it was necessary to raise an alarm over the public's frustration with virus restrictions and the slow pace of vaccinations.