66.79 ↑ 100 JPY
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31 July


24-hour networks in Japan go to work during the daytime

There is an acute shortage of labor in the country

Photo: Kyodo

/NOVOSTIVL/ The 24-hour konbini experience is starting to show cracks as a labor shortage in the world’s third-biggest economy forces operators to consider cutting store hours This article appeared in the Bloomberg.

On Wednesday, FamilyMart UNY Holdings Co. joined Lawson Inc. and Seven & I Holdings Co. in saying that they are contemplating changes and testing reduced hours in order to cope.

With unemployment at 2.3 percent, near 1992 lows, the nation’s labor shortage is being felt acutely across all industries from construction demands ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to caring for a rapidly aging population.

Convenience-store operators are feeling the pain. In a survey by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry last year, 61 percent of convenience-store franchisers said they didn’t have enough workers — almost triple the ratio from 2014.

Many store owners are required to keep their doors open all hours of the day because it’s written into franchise contracts that can last up to 15 years. In the past, franchisers such as 7-Eleven owner Seven & I Holdings have rigidly enforced store hours even as the labor crunch worsened.