Japan Panel Kicks Off Talks on Reviving Department Stores

Politics

Tokyo, March 3 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese industry ministry panel on measures to revitalize department stores, mainly those in the countryside, which continue to struggle amid a host of challenges, held its first meeting on Tuesday.

The group, comprising experts and representatives from the department store industry, and headed by Gakushuin University professor Motoshige Ito, plans to draw up a set of proposals by summer. The proposals will be reflected in the ministry's strategy for the distribution sector.

"Department stores have no time to waste in promoting reforms," Yojiro Hatakeyama, director-general for commerce and service industry policy at the ministry, said at the meeting, calling on panel members to hold active discussions.

Japanese department stores had supported consumption since the postwar economic boom, but have been seeing a downtrend in sales following the collapse of the nation's bubble economy in the early 1990s.

Recently, the industry has been facing tough competition from large suburban commercial facilities and online shopping services while suffering a decrease in customers due to the trend to stay home amid the novel coronavirus crisis. Subsequently, a wave of department store closures is starting to spread from rural regions to urban areas.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press