Japan to boost mask output with subsidies
NHK -- Feb 13
The Japanese government plans to offer subsidies to face mask manufacturers to help them boost their production capacity.

The move comes in response to a shortage of masks across Japan due to a surge in demand amid the spread of the new coronavirus.

Makers are running their factories around the clock to meet a request from the government. The government says more than 100 million masks per week will be supplied, which surpasses the average output.

But industry ministry officials are concerned that the mask shortage may continue if the demand remains high, so they decided to offer subsidies to makers for investing in more production lines.

The ministry says it will bear two-thirds of the costs for relatively large-sized makers, and three-quarters for small- and medium-sized companies, up to a maximum of 270,000 dollars per production line.

The subsidies will be provided to manufacturers upon the government's request to boost production.

The government is also considering buying up some of the excess mask inventories after the surge in demand has subsided to address concerns, stemming from a drastic increase in production capacity.

According to the ministry, only about 30 percent of masks put on sale in Japan is made in the country, while 70 percent is produced in China. The outbreak of the coronavirus in China is affecting production and logistics inside the country and exports to Japan as well.

News source: NHK
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