When Fumiyoshi Shimizu was promoted to store manager just nine months after entering his company, he couldn't believe his luck.

A traffic accident during his final year at high school left him hospitalized, affecting his studies and work prospects.

Then, convenience store chain SHOP99 offered him employment as a trainee, before rewarding him for his industriousness with a promotion to manager of one of its outlets in the western Tokyo suburb of Kokubunji.