He's Japan's best-known 7-Eleven franchisee, reports the New York Times. But Mitoshi Matsumoto says the company is trying to change that description to Japan's best-known former 7-Eleven franchisee. The convenience store owner and the company have been engaged in a battle over its round-the-clock demands: Last month, Matsumoto said he would close the store—open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, per company policy—for New Year's Day only, so that he and his two full-time workers could break from their normal schedule of 14-hour shifts. He'd already irked the company in February by deciding to trim his store hours and close between 1am and 6am daily. 7-Eleven threatened to close the store then but backed off after he attracted media attention.
Matsumoto says retaliation took the form of a letter sent to him 10 days ago that said 7-Eleven had logged 78 complaints in 2019 about his store, and that the location would be closed if he didn't rectify the situation by year-end. The Japan Times reports negotiations failed on Sunday and 7-Eleven canceled his contract, but that Matsumoto still plans to close Wednesday and reopen Thursday—though his cash register won't work and he won't be able to restock inventory. He says he may sue to remain open. The Times notes 7-Eleven is controlled by a Japanese company and that 40% of the convenience stores in the country are 7-Eleven. More fascinating, it writes that Japan views these stores as an element of its "infrastructure, like highways and sewers. They are expected ... to help with local policing by offering a safe place for people to flee to. Its stores can be called on to help distribute aid and supplies during a natural disaster." (Read more 7-Eleven stories.)