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Trump Win Boosts Japan Mask Maker

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SAITAMA: The jury is still out on what Donald Trump’s election victory means for close US ally Japan. But at least one local business has emerged a winner.

Ogawa Studios, the country’s top rubber mask maker, has seen surging demand for their version of the billionaire real-estate magnate since his shock November 8 win.

”I am not sure if Mr Trump’s election victory is a good thing for Japan, but for us, a rubber mask maker, the demand has increased many times since he won,” said senior manager Takahiro Yagihara.

”Mr Trump is always angry and yelling during his speeches, and that kind of performance is a great model to make a face mask out of,” Yagihara told AFP at his studio in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

”It wouldn’t have been the case with (Hillary) Clinton.”

Trump has caused concern with campaign comments in which he said Japan should pay more to support US troops in the country and should even consider developing nuclear weapons.

He has also promised to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement championed by President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The company started selling the Trump masks, which cost 2,400 yen ($21), in May and had shifted about 1,800 by election day.

But demand surged after Trump won, with sales of 5,000 masks within several days, Yagihara said.

Ogawa Studios expects to ship a further 8,000 Trump masks by the end of this year, he added.

The studio’s array includes those of politicians, cartoon characters, sumo wrestlers and even one modelled on a bronze statue of the Buddha.

One of the more successful masks was of Obama, Yagihara said.

”The popularity of Mr Obama’s was far beyond that of Mr Trump’s but I have high hopes he will catch up,” he said. -AFP

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