Beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. will start providing alcohol-based disinfectants free to hospitals later this month to address the shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to cooperate even a little at a time when demand and supply are tight for rubbing alcohol," a Suntory spokesperson said Wednesday.

Osaka-based subsidiary Suntory Spirits Ltd. will produce alcohol distilled at 95 percent for hospitals and nursing homes, although it is still examining how much it can offer.

The move comes after the health ministry eased regulations to approve the use of drinks with high alcohol content, as well industrial-use ethanol, for sanitizing purposes at medical and nursing facilities.

Its U.S. group company Beam Suntory Inc. is already producing hand sanitizers at its plant in Kentucky to provide to local health and emergency services.