Japan shoppers crash website for face masks

An employee gestures to customers buying face masks at a Uniqlo store in Tokyo. (AFP)
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Updated 19 June 2020

Japan shoppers crash website for face masks

TOKYO: Japanese shoppers queued at Uniqlo stores and crashed its website on Friday as the clothing chain began selling face masks with breathable fabric used in the brand’s popular underwear, preparing for the coronavirus outbreak lasting through summer.

Scenes of people standing in the rain waiting for stores to open were seen throughout Japan and broadcast on Twitter, while Uniqlo’s online store apologized for crashing and later selling out of the washable Airism masks.

The company said more will become available as it was stepping up production. The masks are sold in three-piece packs for 990 yen ($9.26) plus tax,.

Prospects of a prolonged crisis have encouraged Japanese consumers to buy and make reusable, washable versions even as disposable masks, initially in short supply, have become more easily available.

Face masks are not mandatory in Japan, but are usually worn in public, particularly in stores and on public transport. They were a common sight even before the global pandemic during flu and pollen seasons.

The company has said it plans to eventually make the masks available in overseas markets.

Shares in Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, rose around 1.9 percent on Friday. 


Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

Updated 14 August 2020

Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

  • Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid
  • Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments

DUBAI: UAE national carrier Emirates SkyCargo plans to ramp up its freighter operations to Lebanon with 50 flights to deliver emergency relief in the wake of the Beirut port blast that killed nearly 200 people.
Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid, state news agency WAM reported.
The Emirates Airline Foundation will coordinate shipments of urgent food, medical supplies with NGO partners to ensure donations directly help those affected on the ground.
Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments, underscoring its commitment to expedite emergency relief efforts to Beirut.
“Today, the world is banding together to stand in solidarity with Lebanon, providing urgent relief and immediate recovery support to those affected by this tragic disaster,” Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said. 
“Emirates supports the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to support Lebanon and is committed to bolster its global emergency response to ensure that it can support organizations which provide urgent care, shelter, food and medical support to the Lebanese people,” he added. 
Emirates said that it had dispatched several charter flights carrying food, clothing and medical supplies donated by various grassroots organizations in the UAE to Lebanon.