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Masks galore: Japanese ward off pollen, pollution

 In this photo taken March 16, 2013, a police officer wearing a mask is on duty at a police station in Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgical mask...
 In this photo taken on March 16, 2013, people wearing masks walk down a street in Ginza shopping district of Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgic...
 In this photo taken on March 16, 2013, people wearing masks walk down a street in Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgical masks. It�s about pollen...

Japan Masked Masses

In this photo taken March 16, 2013, a police officer wearing a mask is on duty at a police station in Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgical mask...

Japan Masked Masses

In this photo taken on March 16, 2013, people wearing masks walk down a street in Ginza shopping district of Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgic...

Japan Masked Masses

In this photo taken on March 16, 2013, people wearing masks walk down a street in Tokyo. Japan is becoming a sea of surgical masks. It�s about pollen...

On the sidewalks and the subways it's clear: Japan is becoming a sea of surgical masks. It's about pollen, about germs and even a little about China.
Simple masks. High-tech masks. Scented masks. Masks in pink and purple. Yano Research Institute says it's a 26 billion yen ($274 million) market. The industry leader, Kowa Co., says it plans to quintuple production this year.
The biggest reason is hay fever. Japan's pollen levels are five times higher than they were last spring. There's also concern about germs, and about pollution, especially tiny particles known as PM2.5. The government says PM2.5 levels are about the same as they were last year, but the media has played up the dangers and noted that much of the pollution is coming from China.


Updated : 2021-01-25 18:34 GMT+08:00