SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son will donate 300 million masks free of cost to Japan every month, starting May, to help the country fight the deadly coronavirus. Son made the announcement via a tweet on Saturday night. SoftBank last month said that it was donating more than 1 million masks to New York State.

Son said that SoftBank has secured a contract with a Chinese company to supply two varieties of masks as Japan continues its fight against the deadly coronavirus. Japan's coronavirus cases have crossed 6,000 with the country's Prime Minister announcing a state of emergency in a six cities including Tokyo on Tursday.

SoftBank for a noble cause

The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato REUTERS/Issei Kato

SoftBank Group Corp CEO Masayoshi Son said that his company has secured a steady supply of 300 million masks every month for Japan after reaching a deal with Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd. China-based BYD recently started production of masks in a bid to help countries make up for the shortage of protective gear.

Son also said that SoftBank will donate two different kinds of masks. Initially, the masks will be supplied to healthcare staff in cooperation with the Japanese government's "mask team". Japan has set up a "mask team" to handle the shortage of masks due to coronavirus outbreak.

Japan like other countries has been facing a shortage of masks. The masks will be distributed as a priority by the Japanese government starting next week. Both the varieties, which are washable, will reach medical staff. Japan has been criticized for not being able to help healthcare workers who have been facing problems in treating coronavirus patients owing to the shortage of protective gear.

SoftBank comes up with timely help

N95 masks

Japan government is all going all out to ramp up production of masks. The country aims to produce 700 million disposable masks domestically. Also, this is not the first time that SoftBank has partnered with a Chinese company. SoftBank, which has time and again collaborated with Chinese firms, said that BYD Co Ltd is setting up a new line to produce 300 million masks every month.

The Chinese electric vehicle maker is already churning out 15 million masks a days, its optimum production capacity. On a monthly basis, SoftBank will donate 100 million N-95 masks and 200 million regular masks. SoftBank had earlier said that it was donating 1.4 masks to New York State, one of the hardest-hit centers in the United States.

Son himself has been quite critical of Japan, saying that Japan's response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak has been spearheaded by politicians rather than scientists, and that the country should immediately ramp up production of masks to fight coronavirus.