January 22, 2019 – An abundance of sex-themed magazines at Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stores may soon become a thing of the past, due partly to major international sports events the country will host.
Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc. have decided to stop selling adult magazines nationwide by the end of August to improve their image ahead of the Rugby World Cup this fall and Tokyo Olympics next year.
The move by two of the country’s biggest convenience store chain operators is aimed at avoiding giving a bad impression to what is expected to be a surge of foreign visitors during the events, officials said, noting that they also hope it will make it easier for women and children to visit the outlets.
At Seven-Eleven shops, numbering some 20,000 across Japan, adult magazines account for less than 1 percent of total sales, industry experts estimate. Lawson stopped selling such magazines at outlets in Okinawa Prefecture in November 2017.
Judging that the step has gained understanding from customers and franchise stores, Lawson has decided to expand the ban to its stores nationwide, totaling 14,000. Ministop, which runs some 2,000 stores in Japan, has already shut out adult magazines, introducing the ban in late 2017.
FamilyMart Co., another major convenience store chain, has stopped selling adult magazines at 2,000 of its 16,000 stores nationwide. Industry leader Seven-Eleven said that although decisions on whether to sell racy magazines will be left up to the manager of each franchise store, the headquarters will stop recommending their sale and has already told Tohan Corp., a major distributor of books and magazines, of the new policy.