Japanese Firms Testing Unattended Payment Systems

Economy

Tokyo, Dec. 12 (Jiji Press)--Japanese companies have been testing unattended payment systems at retail outlets, at a time when serious labor shortages are crippling many industries in the country.

Stores with such systems, which are also designed to cut costs, are likely to prove popular with busy customers as they will no longer need to stand in a queue, industry sources said.

East Japan Railway Co. <9020>, or JR East, opened in mid-October an unmanned store on a platform of Akabane Station in Tokyo's Kita Ward in a trial program lasting for about two months.

To enter the shop, customers touch the entrance gate with transport service-linked electronic money cards, such as JR East's Suica. Inside the store, cameras installed on the ceiling and shelves recognize products when they are picked up. On a monitor at the exit, customers confirm the names and prices of the products and make payments with the cards.

"We'll decide whether to put such unmanned shops into practical use after examining technical issues," a JR East public relations official said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press