The government in conjunction with five major convenience store operators plans to introduce an advanced self-checkout system by 2025 to mitigate expected labor shortages, officials said Tuesday.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it will cooperate with Seven-Eleven Japan Co., FamilyMart Co., Lawson Inc., and two other convenience store chains to install self-checkout registers that can instantly calculate the prices of all items in a basket at once.
The convenience store operators, which also include Ministop Co. and East Japan Railway Co., which operates NewDays stores through a subsidiary, will attach chips containing product information to the roughly 100 billion items they sell annually.
Current self-checkout machines read the prices of products one by one using bar codes.
For products costing less than ¥100, the new system at current prices would be expensive, as the chips cost ¥10 to ¥20 each.
To reduce the costs, the ministry aims to help makers develop manufacturing technology to mass produce the chips.
Convenience store operators are also working on developing new self-checkout machines. Lawson, for example, is conducting a trial service with Panasonic Corp. using a robot that calculates the prices of items.