Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Take a look around any Japanese city and reminders of the H1N1 influenza threat are everywhere. Commuters in surgical masks. Hand sanitiser at building entrances. Classrooms and daycare centres being temporarily shut.
But nothing gets parents more into a panic than news reports of small children having died from the disease. Moms and dads understandably want vaccinations for their kids as soon as possible but there’s one major problem: where can you get them?
Japan has started administering the swine flu vaccine to high-risk groups such as medical personnel, pregnant women and children under the age of nine with medical problems such as asthma. But the wider school-age population will not be eligible until early next year.
One of my 3-year-old twin daughters qualified because she has a serious case of asthma, but the doctor told us to “keep it a secret” for fear of a rush on the hospital for scarce vaccine.
It looks like typical, off-the-rack business attire but a Japanese menswear firm has invented a suit for the executive who doesn’t have time to come down with the flu.
Haruyama Trading says its $590 suit can protect wearers from the H1N1 virus, as it is coated with titanium dioxide, a chemical commonly used in toothpaste and cosmetics that is said to kill the virus upon contact.