People have been queuing up at drugstores every week, hoping to snag the latest stock of toilet paper, hand sanitiser, face masks and other items suddenly considered everyday essentials during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. With face masks just about impossible to come by, Japanese households have started receiving two reusable face masks each this month, but that hasn't been enough to stop the serious shortage we have been facing.
In mid-March, Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp announced it would help with the face mask crisis by using its factories in Japan and around the world to produce paper surgical masks for hospitals and consumers. The Sharp face masks were supposed to be available for purchase on the Sharp website on April 21. However, due to the overwhelming number of people attempting to purchase them, the website crashed, leaving us all maskless yet again.
To avoid the technical problems, Sharp decided to switch from first-come-first-serve online sales to a lottery system. You can enter the lottery for free for exactly 24 hours on Monday April 27 (entries close at 11:59pm), and winners will be announced the next day on April 28. There are 30,000 boxes of masks available, but to prevent hoarding, each winner is only allowed to order one box containing 50 masks, costing ¥2,980. Visit this link to enter the lottery.
If you miss out this time, don't worry – Sharp is calling this the 'first lottery' so we're guessing you'll have more opportunities to get your hands on some Sharp masks.
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