Company cites desire to avoid giving Japan a bad reputation as visitors from overseas come for the Tokyo Olympics.

Japanese convenience stores have an amazing selection of products. In the past, they’ve supplied us with such wonders as beautiful “water crystal” desserts, loaves of “Russian roulette bread,” and robot-cooked fried chicken.

However, something that’s about to get much harder to find at Japanese convenience stores is adult magazines. 7-Eleven Japan has announced that it is planning to phase out sales of porno mags at its roughly 20,000 locations across Japan.

The company has given two reasons for the change. With roughly half of its customers being women, it has said it wants to create a more inviting shopping environment for female customers, as well as children. In addition, 7-Eleven is concerned that selling pornography in its stores will make foreign customers, including overseas visitors to Japan, feel uncomfortable or offended, thus damaging Japan’s image internationally, particularly with the surge in foreign travelers expected during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

On January 21, 7-Eleven notified publishers that it has reached a decision to stop recommending its stores stock adult magazines. While the ultimate decision whether or not to sell pornography will be left up to individual franchise owners, without support from 7-Eleven’s main offices it’s expected that most will adopt the company’s stance and that by the end of August, the vast majority of 7-Eleven branches will no longer stock adult magazines, which currently account for less than one percent of the chain’s total annual sales revenue.

For purposes of the new policy, “adult magazines” are described as those whose sale is restricted to buyers aged 18 or older. As such, manga anthologies and men’s interest magazines with sexy but not-nude bikini photo spreads are likely to be unaffected.

On the same day that 7-Eleven made its new policy known, rival chain Lawson also issued a statement that “Although we have left the decision of whether or not to stock adult magazines up to individual stores until now, our central office has decided to cease recommending their sale.” In addition, Family Mart, the remaining member of the group of Japan’s three largest convenience store chains, which had already halted sales of adult magazines at 2,000 of its branches last April, announced on January 22 that it will be phasing out sales in all of its branches by the end of August 2019, again citing the feelings of female, juvenile, and foreign visitors to its stores.

Sources: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Otakomu, Lawson via Jin, Livedoor News/Oricon News via Jin
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