What’s behind Japan’s strange vending machine obsession?

What's behind Japan's strange vending machine obsession?

They are omnipresent across Japan. They sit – humming quietly, lights flashing – on pretty much every street corner throughout the country, from neon-lit skyscraper hubs to empty mountain lanes. 

Vending machines. As thousands of Rugby World Cup fans are about to discover (along with the joys of heated loo seats and the tastiness of real sushi), any tableau of modern Japanese life, be it urban or rural, is incomplete without the presence of at least one (or even half a dozen) street-side vending machines.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan’s vending machine statistics are as impressive as the wide repertoire of goods they sell: the country is reportedly home to one of the world’s highest densities…

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