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Food & Beverage

From cookies to noodles: Japan's vending machines have it all

COVID fears push food sector into the street to make up for lost revenue

Maruyama Seimen's vending machines installed in front of its head office in Tokyo offer frozen ramen noodles from famous restaurants.

TOKYO -- Foreign tourists to Japan are often amazed by the number of vending machines lining the streets. But once the country reopens its doors to tourism, visitors might be in for an even bigger surprise when they see the vast range of food that is now being dispensed from machines.

As coronavirus fears continue to grip Japan, new vending machines offering frozen ramen noodles and other food products are popping up around the country. These unique machines, which let consumers buy food and other daily items without exposing themselves to infection at stores, also help food service companies make up for lost sales at their normal outlets.

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