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West Japan firm creates pocket-size foldable case for storing masks

A compact, foldable mask case that can store masks easily is seen in this image provided by Kawakita, a firm based in Osaka Prefecture.

OSAKA -- A compact, foldable case that comes in handy when masks need to be temporarily put away at restaurants or other places has been developed by a manufacturer in western Japan.

    Kawakita, a company based in Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, that designs and creates stationery and household gadgets, made the mask case, which can fit inside the chest pocket of a button-up shirt. The item, made of polypropylene, is expected to garner attention as a convenient and innovative product that emerged from a city famous for its small and midsize firms amid the unclear outlook of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

    The case measures about 9 centimeters by 6 cm when folded, and is about 1 cm thick. A mask should be folded horizontally when storing it in the case, and then the case itself can be folded in the opposite direction with the mask inside.

    President Ichiro Kawakita remarked, "I'd been troubled over where to put my mask when I took it off, since masks became essential items amid the pandemic. Especially when I eat out, it feels like placing the bare mask on top of the table is not good manners." The new product was then born after he came up with the idea of how to easily store removed masks.

    The mask case can be purchased via a crowdfunding site at https://kibidango.com/1442 (in Japanese). The product is available until Aug. 30, with three cases priced at 1,450 yen (about $14).

    (Japanese original by Sakae Toda, Osaka Bureau)

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