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Japan's cosmetics makers and distillers rush to make sanitizers

Shiseido and Suntory hike output as government quashes coronavirus profiteering

Demand for alcohol disinfectants is surging in Japan on concerns over the increasing number of new coronavirus infections. (Photo by Mamoru Yago)

TOKYO -- Japanese cosmetics and household goods companies as well as alcoholic beverage makers are moving to increase production of hand disinfectant in response to a request by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to help alleviate shortages caused by heavy demand due to the coronavirus.

Sanitizers, which come in various forms such as liquids, gels and moist towelettes, are in short supply in Japan as new coronavirus infections spread rapidly and consumers and hospitals rush to protect themselves by purchasing supplies, with some bouts of panic buying by consumers also seen. Face masks are another protective item difficult to find.

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