Analysis | Demand for MIT face masks poised to surge in Japan

People wearing masks are seen at an underground shopping, most of whoes shopa and restaurants are reopened, in Umada, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture on May 23, 2020. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to lift the state of emergency issue for Osaka, Hyogo and Kyoto on May 21st.( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心) plans to lift the ban on masks exports on June 1, meaning that local mask manufacturers are getting ready to sell masks freely across markets.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, demand for high-quality masks is on the rise, especially “Made in Taiwan” masks which have an excellent reputation. There is, therefore, little wonder domestic manufacturers have received a large number of orders from countries since the CECC’s announcement.

Among potential customers, Japan is a huge market that cannot be ignored, and many Japanese have already expressed their excitement about buying Taiwan’s mask.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a face mask (abenomask) arrives at Prime Minister’s office in Tokyo on May 22, 2020. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

According to NHK, Japan’s textile imports surged in April, fuelled by growing demand for face masks.

The latest trade data from the finance ministry show that imports of textile goods, including face masks, hit 116 billion yen, or just over US$1 billion, ten times higher than in the same month last year.

More importantly, 95 percent of Japanese mask imports come from China, followed by Vietnam.

Recently, “Yahoo.jp” reported that Taiwan will open the export of masks on June 1, causing heated discussions among Japanese. Some commented that the quality of Taiwan-made masks is much better than China’s, saying that they have been looking forward to purchasing the MIT masks.