Citing concerns over global warming, politicians in several large Japanese cities have started talking about banning or harshly regulating convenience stores open late at night, or 24/7. The areas pushing this, with Kyoto, Saitama and Kanagawa mentioned, seem to be looking to burnish their credentials as “model” environmentally friendly cities, whatever the inconvenience and cost to inhabitants and local businesses.
The parties in support of a ban trot out several arguments, chiefly their contention that a nocturnal lifestyle is bad for the environment, and that convenience stores contribute to this issue; they also make references to the “health” of townsfolk and the influence on child upbringing of late night opening. They do make some token talk of compromise with convenience stores, in between exhorting the need for compulsory measures.
Convenience stores are scathing in their response, and actually provide numbers to back up their arguments, more than can be said for the municipalities; according to an industry group (the JFA, an admittedly far from impartial organisation), total (including everything from lighting to deliveries) savings in emissions would amount to a mere 4%. Sales on the other hand might be impacted 20%; they do not mention employment, but that too would be a factor. They also claim that the stores provide late night security and crime prevention to some 7,000 women annually.
A parting shot is fired by someone connected with the industry: “Why should we get the blame when TV and the Internet cause people to be active late at night?” Now there’s an idea…
This via J-Cast.
Local governments with too much time on their hands, or maybe thinking this will enable them to attend a better class of convention? Will they ban people from staying up past sunset next?