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Japan’s 7-Eleven stores going bilingual

Screen caption from NHK Japan

Japan’s 7-Eleven stores have started labelling their prepared foods in English as well as Japanese.

Seven-Eleven Japan president Kazuki Furuya said the measure is in response to requests from foreign tourists, whose numbers have been soaring and are expected to rise further ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the Japan Times reports.

“More foreign customers will be using convenience stores in Japan in the future,” he said, hoping that tourist visits will lead to stronger brand power for the company in China, Southeast Asia and the US, where it is opening more stores.

The company said growing numbers of foreign visitors have been patronising its stores in big cities and tourist destinations. Some have asked the company to provide English names, especially for onigiri (rice balls), as they want to know what the fillings are. Also covered by the bilingual labeling will be bento (boxed lunch) products, delicatessen items and some sweets. Japan is expected to surpass 20,000 7-Eleven stores this month.

This story was first published on Inside Retail Asia.

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