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Japan price-gouging mask resellers to face up to 1 million yen fine or year in jail

Face masks (Getty)

TOKYO -- People caught reselling face masks at markup prices could face up to a 1 million yen (about $9,665) fine or a year in prison under changes to a Japanese government ordinance confirmed on March 10 amid shortages sparked by novel coronavirus fears.

The revision, approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and set to enter force on March 15, bans both businesses and individuals from reselling masks they purchased at retail outlets. The changes were made to the ordinance on the Act on Emergency Measures for Stabilizing Living Conditions of the Public.

Under the new rules, retailers will still be allowed to sell masks on their regular online shops. The resale ban will be lifted once the mask supply has stabilized, possibly after the new coronavirus has stopped spreading.

Japan imports about 80% of its masks from China and other countries. Mask imports have drastically declined due to the spread of coronavirus infections in China.

(Japanese original by Takayuki Hakamada, Business News Department)

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