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Cardboard partitions used at southwestern Japan town hall in high demand

A cardboard-frame partition is set up at a counter between an employee, right, and a customer at a Nishi-Nippon City Bank branch in Yukuhashi, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi/Masaki Matsumoto)

UKUHASHI, Fukuoka -- Orders have surged for clear, cardboard-frame partitions after the town hall of Miyako in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Fukuoka set them up at information counters to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Hospitals, local governments and banks affiliated with Nishi-Nippon Financial Holdings Inc. are among those that have ordered the partitions.

The idea for the screens came from staff of the general affairs section at the town hall, who saw them as a way to prevent droplet transmission of the virus and ease the worries of residents visiting counters. Cardboard was selected for the material as it is easier to carry around and more cost-effective than acrylic sheets.

President Kazuaki Terasawa of Daikoku Co., right, is seen making cardboard partitions currently in high demand, in Yukuhashi, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi/Masaki Matsumoto)

In early April, town officials asked Daikoku Co., a manufacturer of corrugated boards which is based in the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Yukuhashi, to produce 55 partitions for use at all town hall counters.

Immediately after the partitions were put in place, an employee at the Yukuhashi branch of Nishi-Nippon City Bank who visited the town hall asked the bank's headquarters if similar partitions could be placed at banks to prevent transmission of the coronavirus between customers and employees. Nishi-Nippon Financial Holdings Inc. has decided to place a total of 1,500 of these partitions at all branches run by Nishi-Nippon City Bank and The Bank of Nagasaki.

Daikoku Co. is known for its unique products, including a 2019 Good Design Award-winning cardboard smartphone stand customized so that those with visual impairments can take pictures of documents with their phones. The company's president, Kazuaki Terasawa, 65, commented, "The unexpected amount of orders has surpassed our production capacity. Our team is working hard, including on weekends, as we know that the product is in demand to protect people."

(Japanese original by Masaki Matsumoto, Yukuhashi Resident Bureau)

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