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Business trends

Japanese rail commuters get a taste of drink subscription service

JR East to offer sharp discounts on vending machine purchases

Subscribers to the service will use their smartphones to purchase beverages from vending machines.

TOKYO -- The East Japan Railway group will launch a subscription service on Oct. 1 that allows users to purchase beverages at a discount from "smart" vending machines via a smartphone app.

For a monthly fee of 2,480 yen ($22.80), subscribers can receive one drink a day for the duration of the month from any of the latest smart vending machines in JR East train stations. In comparison, nonsubscribers would have to pay 4,500 yen if they bought a 150-yen beverage every day for 30 days.

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