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Alibaba founder Jack Ma's foundation donates 1 million masks to Japan

Boxes of masks donated to Japan by a foundation run by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma are seen at a warehouse in China on March 1, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the foundation)
This file photo taken on Aug. 29, 2019, shows Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma. (Mainichi/Akira Kudo)

SHANGHAI (Mainichi) -- A foundation run by Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma donated 1 million masks to Japan on March 3 to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The move is seen as a payback measure after Japan offered huge support to China following the virus outbreak. The Chinese e-commerce tycoon often visits Japan to give lectures and to meet with the country's business leaders, whom he has known for a long time.

Ma published a message about the donation, saying, "The Japanese people supported China by sending items including masks and protective suits several times when a shortage of medical resources peaked in our country."

The donated masks are not for use by the general public. A private association that will manage the donated masks in Japan will distribute them to medical institutions suffering from shortages after consulting with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and other organizations.

The Chinese Embassy in Japan also announced on Feb. 29 via Twitter that it will give 100,000 masks and 5,000 protective suits to Japan, as well as virus diagnosis kits.

(Japanese original by Akira Kubo, Shanghai Bureau)

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