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Teijin to make medical gowns amid coronavirus shortage

Textile maker to supply 9m by late June, tapping factory in Japan and partners

Medical gown shortages are becoming a serious concern for doctors and nurses in Japan.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japanese textile maker Teijin will foray into the production of medical gowns, supplies of which have grown short due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the Nikkei learned on Wednesday.

The company plans to start production within the month and supply 9 million pieces to the Japanese government by the end of June. In addition to manufacturing at its own factory, Teijin will also use domestic and overseas facilities of partner companies.

The gown's design will be posted on the website so that small businesses can make them as well.

This is the first time that a major domestic textile manufacturer will begin production of medical gowns since the virus began spreading.

Teijin will tap the know-how in material procurement and processing of Osaka-based subsidiary Teijin Frontier. The company's factory in Fukuoka Prefecture's Omuta City will produce 50,000 garments a month, while overseas partners in China and Southeast Asia will make several million garments a month.

Medical gowns are used by staff in hospitals. Teijin plans to produce both reusable and disposable products. It will collaborate with companies that have the suitable materials and processing technologies.

Japanese chemical company Asahi Kasei is also expected to enter the medical gown market. The company produces the non-woven fabrics used as raw materials in Japan and Thailand. It is considering working with affiliated companies and external parties to handle final products. The production volume has not been decided, but Asahi Kasei plans to start as early as July.

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