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Business trends

Seven-Eleven taps facial recognition for future unstaffed stores

Cashierless shop to take center stage in labor-short Japan

NEC's facial recognition technology is slated to be used in the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
NEC's facial recognition technology is slated to be used in the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Seven-Eleven Japan is teaming with NEC to open a cashierless convenience store that uses facial recognition to authenticate shoppers and check them out.

Japan's retail sector as a whole faces an urgent need to improve its achingly low productivity. The growing difficulty of hiring staff amid a deepening labor shortage, combined with rising costs for part-time workers, is forcing convenience stores in particular to find other ways to improve efficiency and remain competitive.

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