Curbing Use of Plastic Umbrellas Seen as Biz Chance in Japan

Economy

Tokyo, Oct. 28 (Jiji Press)--Umbrella makers and startups in Japan, the world's largest umbrella-consuming country, are beginning to look for business opportunities by proposing alternatives to the use of cheap, plastic umbrellas that people usually buy at convenience stores and other shops when caught in the rain.

People in Japan annually consume a total of 130 million umbrellas, including about 80 million plastic umbrellas. Each plastic umbrella is estimated to have an environmental impact equal to that of 200 to 300 plastic straws when measured by carbon dioxide emissions.

Shu's Selection Co., which produces Waterfront brand umbrellas, reduced output of cheap, plastic umbrellas in 2017. In 2019, the Tokyo-based company improved its lineup of collapsible and other umbrellas, while slashing production of plastic umbrellas by 68 pct from the 2017 level.

One of its stores located in the fashionable Tokyo district of Jiyugaoka offers about 1,500 umbrella products, including ultralight folding umbrellas that weigh less than 100 grams each.

"First of all, we hope to create the custom of carrying umbrellas," company executive Junichi Sakaguchi said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press