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Chinese city to donate 100,000 masks to Japan with help of auto parts maker

Takizawa Mayor Ryo Shuhama, right, and Mikuni Corp. President Hisataka Ikuta, left, are seen during a ceremony to mark the donation of masks from the Chinese city of Cixi in Zhejiang province, in the city of Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, on March 24, 2020. (Mainichi/Yutaka Yamada)

TAKIZAWA, Iwate -- A ceremony was held in this northern Japan city on March 24 to mark a donation of 30,000 face masks by the Chinese city of Cixi in Zhejiang province amid the spread of the new coronavirus.

Cixi told Tokyo-based auto parts maker Mikuni Corp., which operates a group company in the city, that it wanted to show its appreciation to Japan, which has sent masks and other relief goods to China when infections were spreading.

Mikuni has based one of its factories in the city of Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, since 1972. The factory in Japan says it passes on its skills to the plant in Cixi, and Chinese workers would sometimes come to Takizawa for training. Mikuni offered mediation between the two city governments. The company also owns facilities based in Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures in east Japan, and a total 100,000 masks are expected to arrive in the three locations.

Mikuni Corp. President Hisataka Ikuta said, "We received a message from Cixi that it would like to support local governments in this country to build a friendly relationship between Japan and China. We wanted to contribute to somehow overcome difficult times, and decided to help out with the donation."

Takizawa Mayor Ryo Shuhama commented, "Cooperation between countries is what I'm seeing right now before my eyes. I want to cherish this bond and build up a friendly relationship."

The Takizawa Municipal Government is considering distributing the 30,000 masks, scheduled to arrive in the city next week, to places including medical institutions and care facilities for the elderly.

(Japanese original by Yutaka Yamada, Morioka Bureau)

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