Sharp, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as FoxConn, of Taiwan, said mask production at its Mie Prefecture plant will start by the end of this month, at 150,000 masks a day, rising to 500,000 a day.
Electronics displays are generally made in what are called “germ-free” plants for the sake of high quality. So small particles can't get into the manufacturing process, making it a good place for mask-making.
Japanese have long worn face masks to prevent spreading colds or alleviate allergies. That practice has grown more widespread since the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19.
Shoppers have been clearing store shelves of other supplies seemingly directly unrelated to viruses, such as toilet paper and rice.
Sharp, based in Osaka, Japan, said in a statement it hoped to contribute to society by making the masks.
Their prices, sales channels and other details are still undecided, it said.