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Uniqlo mask: how customers made it happen

After emails, phone calls and postcards poured in, chief Tadashi Yanai listened

Uniqlo's AIRism masks went on sale in Japan on June 19 and became an instant hit. (Photo by Kento Awashima)

TOKYO -- Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing chain made a big splash in Japan earlier this month when it introduced face masks made with a high-tech material. The masks sold out within hours.

It was the latest episode in Japan's bout with the lingering COVID-19 outbreak, a fight that has triggered some remarkable trends, social shifts and political missteps. But the AIRism mask story is also the retelling of a simple business edict.

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