7-Eleven, Lawson stores in Japan to ditch porn magazines ahead of Olympics

7-Eleven, Lawson stores in Japan to ditch porn magazines ahead of Olympics

7-Eleven store in Tokyo, Japan
This picture taken on October 17, 2015 shows pedestrians walking past a store of Japan's largest convenience chain 7-Eleven in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo. (Photo: AFP / YOSHIKAZU TSUNO)

TOKYO: Japan's omnipresent convenience stores are preparing to stop selling pornographic magazines before waves of tourists visit the nation for the Tokyo Olympic and the Rugby World Cup.

Industry leader 7-Eleven said on Tuesday (Jan 22) that it would phase out sales of "adult" magazines by the end of August, just ahead of the world rugby showcase starting in September, after its rival Lawson announced a similar plan on Monday.

READ: Rugby: Japan World Cup seen as platform for Asia as tournament nears

The move is aimed at "avoiding giving a bad impression" to foreign visitors, Kyodo News quoted officials as saying, adding that they hoped it would make it easier for women and children to visit the stores.

Lawson had stopped selling adult magazines at outlets in Okinawa prefecture in November 2017, according to Kyodo News. It has now decided to expand this ban to include all of its 14,000 stores in Japan, said the report.

Adult magazines make up less than 1 per cent of total sales across the 20,000 or so 7-Eleven shops in Japan, according to industry expert estimates, Kyodo News added.

Seven & i Holdings, which runs more than 20,000 7-Eleven stores across Japan, including franchise outlets, said the decision was made after reviewing "various opinions".

About 5,000 stores have never carried or have stopped selling porn, which accounts for less than one per cent of overall sales, said a company spokesman.

"We knew those sporting events are coming in the future, and those were among factors that we considered," he told AFP, adding that it was not the only reason behind the decision.

Traditionally, customers at 7-Eleven mainly sought to buy things they could eat immediately, like boxed lunches.

Now, as many working women balance their jobs and families, more customers are buying cut vegetables and other products they can easily cook and eat at home.

"The way people use 7-Eleven has changed over the years," the spokesman said. "We can sell other merchandise at the newly available space."

Ministop, which has about 2,000 stores in Japan, banned adult magazines in its stores in 2017, said Kyodo News. It added that FamilyMart has stopped selling adult magazines at 2,000 of its 16,000 stores in Japan.

READ: Japan sees record 31 million tourists in 2018

Japan saw a record 31.2 million visitors last year, up 8.7 per cent from the previous year.

The country is banking on international tourism to help boost its economy, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aiming to attract 40 million tourists by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the summer Olympic Games.


Source: AFP/CNA/nc(gs)

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