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Mitoshi Matsumoto, the franchisee of this 7-Eleven store in Higashi-Osaka, wanted to reduce his operating hours and would not take "no" for an answer. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)
Company in focus

Seven-Eleven rebel lays bare the price of convenience in Japan

One franchisee's fight against 24/7 operations is a symptom of bigger pressures

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

HIGASHI-OSAKA, Japan -- Mitoshi Matsumoto was not expecting to shake up the management of Japan's largest convenience store chain and make national headlines. The 57-year-old widower and 7-Eleven franchisee just wanted five hours of his night back.

But when Matsumoto asked Seven-Eleven Japan for permission to close his store from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., and the retailer demanded that he stay open 24 hours, it set off a chain of events that culminated with the replacement of the company's president earlier this month.

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