In the nearly half-century since Japan got its first convenience store near Tokyo Bay, such outlets have become ubiquitous, with customers dropping by not only for groceries but also for financial services, package delivery, and much more, Mainichi Japan reported.
Photo Insert: What is now Seven-Eleven Japan Co. was established in November 1973, and its first store in the country opened in the capital's Toyosu district in May 1974.
What is now Seven-Eleven Japan Co. was established in November 1973, and its first store in the country opened in the capital's Toyosu district in May 1974 following a licensing agreement with Southland Corp., the US-based operator of the brand.
"Seven-Eleven, which was born in the United States and evolved in Japan, has become a product of Japanese culture recognized all over the world," Seven-Eleven Japan President Fumihiko Nagamatsu said at a recent ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the company's establishment.
Other chains such as Lawson Inc. and FamilyMart Co. started franchise operations shortly after Seven-Eleven's establishment. The industry saw rapid expansion, meeting demand from customers who wanted to buy groceries outside of traditional stores' opening times.
The first 24-hour outlet was born in 1975, and plastic-wrapped rice balls were launched in 1978, becoming a smash hit at a time when they were widely considered to be a type of food only made at home.