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Uniqlo to debut 'cool and dry' face masks

Parent Fast Retailing to use same material as AIRism underwear

Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo will start selling face masks this summer at its stores, as global demand surges for protection against the coronavirus.

TOKYO -- Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, will start selling face masks this summer at its stores, Chairman and CEO Tadashi Yanai told Nikkei, as global demand surges for protection against the coronavirus.

The face masks will be made of the same material used for the brand's AIRism underwear that is cool and dries quickly.

The masks will be sold through Uniqlo stores and via e-commerce for "under a few thousand yen," according to Yanai.

Uniqlo would be the latest business to start producing masks a people worldwide seek to protect themselves amid the pandemic. Companies such as Japan's Sharp started making masks in April, but shortages continue for high quality products.

Uniqlo's AIRism brand offers underwear that is cool and dries quickly. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

Uniqlo's annual unit sales of AIRism products are estimated at almost 100 million globally. Production is largely done at factories in China and Southeast Asia. Some of that mass production capability is expected to be used for producing the masks.

Yanai also mentioned a plan to donate about 5 million face masks and protective suits to medical institutions in Japan.

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