• Jiji


Tapioca chain Florflor is giving a free drink to each customer who hands over the two “Abenomasks” received from the government to ward off the novel coronavirus.

Each shop in the chain will collect the masks and offer them to schools, nurseries and care homes in their communities to serve as a bridge between those who have extra masks and those in need.

“We want to give back to the local community, which has been supporting us,” said Florflor President Atsushi Konishi, 44.

The reusable government masks, distributed at a cost of ¥46.6 billion ($430 million), are derisively dubbed “Abenomasks” as a pun on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies.

Florflor, headquartered in Nagoya, runs franchise outlets that sell drinks containing small balls of tapioca, mainly in Aichi, Fukui and Shiga prefectures.

The free drink campaign, which started Monday at 11 Florflor shops, will run through June 30.

Any customer who donates an unopened package containing the two Abenomasks can get one free tapioca drink of his or her choice. Underage customers need permission from parents or guardians to make the donation.

The campaign is making the rounds of social media.

A 19-year-old university student who took his two masks to a Florflor shop in Fukui said, “Because the shop is close to my home, I thought I should donate these masks together with my friend.”

“Masks will be given to those in need and we can enjoy the drinks,” said a corporate employee in her 30s. “It’s a win-win situation.”

The manager of the Fukui shop, Miki Maeda, 29, said she plans to call on customers to hand over their Abenomasks for donation to elementary schools and similar facilities as they are smaller than their nonwoven counterparts.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.