Operators of Japan's major convenience store chains need to formulate plans to address the severe labor shortage that is creating growing discontent among their struggling franchisees, the industry minister said Tuesday.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, said he will meet in early April with the heads of the four dominant convenience store chains.

One of them, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., saw a franchise owner recently make news by going against the company's 24-hour operating policy when he cut business hours at his store.