Tokyo’s ‘factory town’ shifts focus to virus prevention measures. Manufacturers in Tokyo’s factory district in Ota Ward are producing tools to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as the district’s technicians look to apply their skills and experience to help the nation overcome the epidemic.
Makoto Kitagawa of acrylic panel processing company Shimizu Kogyo showed off a product to block respiratory droplets that has been designed for a table seating four diners.
“The central area is open, so you can still clink your glasses or place a large plate on the table,” he said.
The Ota Ward-based company unveiled the panel at nearby izakaya bar Bairin Honten.
Shimizu Kogyo manufactures shelves for store displays and panels for arcade game units but orders have decreased since the coronavirus outbreak. The company has instead been manufacturing panels to block respiratory droplets that have been installed in banks. The table panel at the bar was made by adapting the ones it manufactures for use on bank counters.
“We are trying to do what we can to help the restaurant industry, which has been seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis,” said Kitagawa, 47.
Mitsuyoshi Kato, the president of a video processing company Assist Corp. in Ota Ward, designed a foot-operated hand sanitizer pump after noticing that some people were reluctant to use disinfectant pumps placed at store entrances because many people touch them.
Kato, 61, designed the pump and asked a factory in the ward to manufacture the product with the help of a local trade association.
The company has received an order for about 3,000 units from one customer.
“The pumps are being used at a local nursery school so we’ve been able to contribute to the local community,” Kato said.
Meanwhile, metal processing company Fuji Techno Machine has launched an item that can be used to push buttons without directory touching them.
The company’s president Hajime Iimuro said the item has the shape of a sea turtle because of his wife’s love of Hawaii, where the creatures are considered sacred.
“It’s the first time we’ve developed a product for general consumers. We’re not sure how well it will do, but it’d be great if lots of people started using it,” said Iimuro, 61.