TOKYO -- Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, announced on Monday that it will start selling "AIRism" face masks in Japan on June 19.
The masks are made of the same material used for the brand's AIRism underwear that is touted as cool and dries quickly. The masks are made of three layers, one of which is a filter to block bacteria and pollen. Another layer blocks ultraviolet rays.
The company aims to cater to the growing demand for comfortable masks, as the protective coverings become daily-wear items amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Customers can buy the AIRism masks in Uniqlo stores across Japan or via the company's e-commerce site. White is the only color available but the mask comes in three sizes: small, medium and large.
One package of three masks will cost 990 yen ($9).
Uniqlo plans to produce 500,000 packages every week in China. The company also plans to sell masks at its overseas stores.
The masks can be washed and used repeatedly. The AIRism material is used on the inside of the mask, while the outside is made of a mesh material that blocks 90% of ultraviolet light.
According to tests by the company, the filter in the middle was effective in removing 99% of bacterial droplets and pollen particles. However, it does not completely block viruses, including the novel coronavirus.