I think the increasing number of foreign people working part time is beneficial in many ways for Japanese and non-Japanese alike. We are now concerned about a serious labor shortage at convenience stores, especially overnight, while foreigners can experience and practice Japanese firsthand.

I am, however, a little skeptical from the customers’ perspective. Japanese convenience stores provide citizens with a variety of services beyond just selling daily commodities, for example handling utility and online shopping bills, shipping services and event tickets. Just buying and selling does not involve any complicated procedures between part-timers and customers. But that is not always the case when it comes to things like shipping. An elderly customer might need help filling in the form, which means the foreign part-timer has to speak, listen, write and read Japanese at a satisfactory level.

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