Amid pandemic, cardboard partitions take on new relevance at Japan’s disaster shelters

Cardboard partitions are becoming more common as shields to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus via droplets among people staying at disaster shelters following the recent heavy rains that hit some regions of Japan.

An increasing number of companies are developing such products, which can be assembled easily, reshaped freely and can even be recycled.

Kato Danboru Co. developed a cardboard partition product for use at shelters jointly with the city government of Noda, Chiba Prefecture, after the Tokyo-based company introduced to the municipality a desk partition to help prevent coronavirus infection.

The company plans to deliver to the city 2,100 sets of the product, whose reference price is set at ¥4,300 per unit.

The jointly developed partition is 2 meters in length and width and 1.45 meters in height when assembled. It is designed for use by three people at a time.

The company is also proposing that a municipality in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts a Kato Danboru plant, purchase the cardboard partition product.

In April, aerospace parts assembler Tohmei Industries Co., based in the city of Chita, Aichi Prefecture, launched a cardboard partition for evacuees.

The product, which is 2 meters in length, width and height and comes with connection parts, tape, work gloves, marker pens and other items, is priced at ¥17,600. The cardboard partitions are painted white to give users a sense of cleanliness and spaciousness.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit northeastern Japan in March 2011, Tohmei Industries started selling beds, toilets and other items made of cardboard which were converted from packing components.

With the firm suffering a 30 percent year-on-year drop in sales due to falling aircraft-related demand amid the coronavirus crisis, an official from the company said, “We want to diversify our business operations.”

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