Asia

2020 Olympics: Japanese chains scrap porn magazines

Japanese pornographic magazines on the shelf of a convenience store in Tokyo, on 22 January 2019. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Adult magazines will disappear from thousands of stores across Japan as it prepares to host a wave of Olympic tourists

Two of Japan's biggest convenience store chains have said they will stop selling pornographic magazines ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

7-Eleven, which runs more than 20,000 shops in Japan, said it wanted "to create a proper shopping environment for all our customers".

Its rival, Lawson Inc, with some 14,000 stores, made a similar announcement.

Large numbers of tourists are set to visit Japan for both sporting events.

Japan's popular 24-hour convenience stores sell everything from hot drinks to frozen meals, or spare work shirts for stressed businesspeople.

Sex magazines are usually mixed in with other titles on racks near the front of the shop, sometimes on low shelves. The stores fear this could give a negative impression.

"In the past, 7-Eleven was mostly used by male customers to buy beverages and fast food, and our product assortment was designed accordingly," the chain told Reuters.

"However, as the role and usage of 7-Eleven stores has changed in recent years, 7-Eleven became an important shopping destination for families, children and elder people as well."

The chain said pornography accounted for less than 1% of its sales, adding that other merchandise could be sold in the vacant space.

The Rugby World Cup takes place in September, while the Tokyo Olympics will start in July 2020.

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