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More than 80,000 foreigners employed at convenience stores across Japan


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
According to Kyodo News, over 80,000 foreign nationals are part-time workers in Japan's top three convenience store franchises. This trend is expected to persist due to the labour shortages caused by an ageing population. Foreign part-time workers constitute approximately 10% of the workforce in Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Lawson Inc., and FamilyMart Co. stores. This news comes as Japan commemorates the 50th anniversary of opening its first convenience store, a 7-Eleven, in Tokyo's Toyosu area on 15 May 1974.

A Kyodo News survey of the major convenience store operators in April found that 7-Eleven stores had the most foreign part-time shop staff at around 40,000, while Lawson stores had some 24,000 and FamilyMart around 18,000. According to totals from the Japan Franchise Association, which includes convenience store chain Ministop Co. along with the big three, the number of foreign nationals working at the shops has risen by 1.4 times compared to five years prior. Data provided by the three major chains shows that while people of many nationalities make up the roughly 80,000 figure, a significant portion consists of Asian individuals from countries such as China, Vietnam, and Nepal.

While the sector marks its 50-year milestone, the number of convenience stores nationwide remains largely unchanged from its fiscal 2018 total of around 58,000 outlets. Each firm is now looking for ways to respond to a changing Japanese society.

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