TOKYO—East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) will open 100 automated convenience stores within four years, much faster than anticipated because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Japan Times reports. The company’s initial unmanned c-store opened in March at Takanawa Gateway Station.
JR East tapped Touch To Go Co. to partner on the automated stores, which use as many as 50 cameras inside to identify products customers select for purchase. Customers pay via their IC cards (train passes), such as Suica or Pasmo commuter passes, upon exiting the store.
The cashierless system will be installed at NewDays and other JR East convenience stores, as well as future small stores operated by other companies. Workers will restock and update window displays. The reduction in labor also helps to address worker shortages in many regions of Japan.