More than 15 per cent of people who use the toilet do not wash their hands every time,according to a survey released Thursday by Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency.
The survey was conducted ahead of the peak season for norovirus infections, which cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Keeping one's hands clean helps reduce the risk of catching the virus.
According to the agency's online survey of 2,000 people, about 5 per cent of people never wash their hands after using the toilet, while an additional 10 per cent do so only sometimes depending on the purpose of their visit to the bathroom.
The agency also found that only about half of the respondents wash their hands every time before meals.
"There are few hundred million norovirus particles inside a gram of faeces of an infected person," the agency said, adding that exposure to just 10 to 100 particles can make a person sick.
As one would expect from a country where cleanliness is often an obsession, Japan's hand-washing performance is fairly good compared to some other places.
A survey of 100,000 people in Europe by a British company found earlier this year that only 38 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women wash their hands after going to the toilet.
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