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Antimicrobe paper to keep coronavirus at bay in Japan's eateries
TOKYO (From news reports) -- As more and more people think twice about touching shared surfaces, from books to menus, Nippon Paper Industries has launched a new antimicrobial printing paper for use in restaurants and hospitals.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the company, which suffered major losses in the April-June quarter as peopled worked from home and used less paper. Nippon paper hopes its latest product will be a big seller as fears of touching shared surfaces increases during the pandemic.

The paper, which goes on sale on Thursday, contains copper ions and carries 99% fewer viruses than regular paper, according to the company. It is also odor-resistant.

Nippon Paper will first sell the product to restaurants to be used as menus. The company also envisions the paper used in hospitals, for purposes such as record-keeping.

It aims to sell 100 million yen ($942,000) of the product in the first year, with plans to eventually push annual sales to about 500 million yen.

Many other Japanese companies are also developing antimicrobial products. Nippon Paper's product is unique because its antimicrobial property is built into the paper itself, instead of using germ-killing chemicals.

Demand for printing paper has sunk as the pandemic forces more people to work from home, and Nippon Paper logged a 3.7 billion yen net loss for the April-June quarter. It hopes that virus-resistant products and other high value-added products could propel its recovery.

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