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The number of people you’ll see in Japan wearing surgical masks is pretty surprising. Sure, Japan is a hard working society, and the spread of productivity-sapping sickness is always a concern at schools and workplaces, but that doesn’t seem like reason enough for the proliferation of facial coverings that sometimes has Tokyo offices looking more like an operating room.


 
 
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Haruyama Trading Co., a major men's clothing chain operator, has announced that it will soon release an "anti-swine flu" business suit. The surface of the wool suit is coated with titanium dioxide photocatalyst, which is a common ingredient in toothpaste and cosmetics. The effect is expected to last even after the suit is washed more than 20 times.


 
 
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The Japanese sense of aesthetic and sense of humour comes to fore despite the onset of flu season as well as the outbreak of the new flu (influenza virus). Manufacturers catering to the Japanese market have come up with different lines of designer flu masks and gauze mouth covers. Flu masks — that most fashionable accessory for hay fever sufferers and during influenza time has taken a turn for the kawaii, with cutesy pink lace masks and purple butterfly-design mouth covers.