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Last Updated: 2021.02.24

Donation of 1 Million UNIQLO AIRism Masks to People Forced to Flee - Strengthening the Fast Retailing and UNHCR Global Partnership and COVID-19 Emergency Response

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Fast Retailing and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, agree to strengthen their global partnership to help people forced to flee during the current COVID-19 crisis. Under this latest agreement, Fast Retailing plans to donate 1 million UNIQLO AIRism masks to UNHCR country operations including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Egypt, and Iraq - beginning end February 2021. UNHCR will distribute these masks to refugee families in particularly vulnerable situations.

For the 79.5 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes, coronavirus is a crisis in addition to a humanitarian emergency. Many are living in overcrowded settlements where health care, water and sanitation systems are already severely strained and access to basic items such as soap can be extremely limited. In such a devastating global crisis, Fast Retailing and UNHCR commit to protect and provide aid to people forced to flee, as they strive to achieve a more sustainable world where 'no one will be left behind.'

"To be able to create a truly sustainable society, Fast Retailing believes that it is essential to secure a safe environment for refugees, the most vulnerable people in the world, and help them to rebuild their lives. We have therefore been providing clothing and other assistance to refugees for over 10 years now in collaboration with UNHCR," said Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing. "While supporting refugees who face the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic, we contribute toward finding a longer-term solution to the refugee problem through our apparel business," he added.

"When people are forced to flee, they risk losing everything - from their homes and belongings, to their jobs and their identities. COVID-19 further impacts their vulnerable circumstances, generating a crisis on top of an existing emergency. Through Fast Retailing's longstanding contribution of clothing donations, livelihoods programs and emergency response, refugees have a chance to rebuild their lives and hope for their future," said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Fast Retailing and UNHCR this year celebrate 10 years of a global partnership to support refugees. Through its agreement with the UN Refugee Agency, Fast Retailing has committed to contribute U.S. $4.5 million (475 million Japanese yen) over a three-year period in support of UNHCR's operations, including an in-kind donation of up to seven million pieces of clothing annually until August 2023. While Fast Retailing continues to assist specific emergency situations where UNHCR operates, including areas of the coronavirus response, the global partnership also represents a commitment to work together to support the self-reliance and livelihoods of refugees and raise global awareness about the issue of forced displacement.

To mark the 10th anniversary of their important partnership, UNIQLO, a company of the Fast Retailing Group, and UNHCR will release "Closer Through Our Clothes," a short film that follows the journey of a Japanese school girl's favorite dress to a refugee camp in Uganda, as it makes its way from one owner to the next.

The film will be released on the UNIQLO Sustainability website www.uniqlo.com/en/re-uniqlo/support/ on February 24, 2021.

About the Global Partnership between Fast Retailing and UNHCR
The relationship began in 2006, when Fast Retailing started collecting used clothing from customers and donating it to those in need via UNHCR. In 2011 the relationship was formally elevated to a global partnership, and Fast Retailing has since been one of UNHCR's largest and most long-standing corporate partners. Activities are multi-faceted and include assisting forcibly displaced people through clothing donations, emergency support, livelihood programs, refugee employment, school outreach and cause-related marketing.

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