They stand resolutely on street corners around Japan, proclaiming that deflation has not been vanquished, much as the Abe administration and the central bank have tried.

They are the country’s 5 million vending machines, and as anyone who has visited can attest, they are seemingly everywhere: from the capital’s vast network of train and subway stations, to Kyoto’s historic shrines and temples, to Okinawa’s remotest islands and even on Mount Fuji — the nation’s highest peak, inaccessible for much of the year.

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