Seven-Eleven Japan marks 50th year of operations

Wednesday marks 50 years since Seven-Eleven Japan opened its first convenience store outlet.

Seven-Eleven Japan is the country's first full-fledged convenience store chain employing a franchise system to allow store owners to operate outlets.

The chain launched its first store in Tokyo's Toyosu area in 1974.

Company President Nagamatsu Fumihiko said the chain aims to further advance the concept of convenience.

Nagamatsu said, "We think it's important to create stores that can meet all the needs of people living nearby, given drastic social changes."

The president hinted that Seven-Eleven Japan plans to open more supermarket-like outlets with wider selections of items like fresh food and baby goods to better capture demand in the face of a shrinking population.

An industry group says the number of convenience stores nationwide has stayed mostly flat in the past few years at a little more than 55,000. Some observers point out that the market has become saturated.