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Japan's Nisshinbo rolls out masks made from men's shirts

Textile maker aims to sell 20,000 washable pieces per month

Textile maker Nisshinbo Holdings plans to sell 20,000 washable cloth masks per month to alleviate a shortage of masks as the number of COVID-19 cases in Japan continues to rise.

TOKYO -- Textile manufacturer Nisshinbo Holdings is rolling out masks made from fabric normally used for men's shirts, as the new coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly in Japan.

Nisshinbo hopes to sell around 20,000 marks a month online and at its stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The Japanese company has not made masks before, but has begun making them from materials for men's shirts as the number of coronavirus infections surges in Japan. Nisshinbo plans to upgrade its domestic plants to increase production.

The masks will sell for 2,990 yen ($27.48) for a set of three. Purchases are limited to three per person.

Shirt fabric is used on the surface of the mask for stability, and it has a gauze lining. The mask is sewn to match the shape of the face, and can be washed and reused. The masks are made using thread made at a domestic plant by a group company that manufactures custom-made shirts. All materials used for the masks, including the ear coverings, are procured within the group.

Nisshinbo has been offering masks to its employees at its apparel shops since mid-March. In response to the prolonged shortage of masks, the company decided to begin selling them to the public.

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