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    INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Japan C-stores Cut Energy Usage

    Retailers respond to energy law revisions that went into effect April 1.

    TOYKO -- Japan's convenience store chains are rushing to implement energy conservation measures in response to energy law revisions that went into effect April 1, according to a report by Mainichi Daily News.

    Previously, the Law on the Rational Use of Energy required only large facilities to report energy usage to the government. However, under the new revisions, energy consumption must now be reported by companies, meaning convenience store chains operating franchises that never close must now also report how much energy they use.

    Convenience store operators, aware their image with consumers is directly connected to how they respond to environmental issues, have begun measures to bring energy consumption down as they face publication of their energy usage, the report stated.

    Seven Eleven Japan began installing LED lights in its exterior signs at new stores at the end of last year. These lights use roughly half as much power as the fluorescent lights used previously. Inside the stores, the chain is moving to reflective tiles for the floor, which in combination with high-efficiency fluorescents, results in a reduction in the number of lights needed. In addition, Seven Eleven Japan started using special glass on refrigerators, eliminating the need for special anti-condensation heaters.

    Starting this June, convenience store chain Lawson will also be taking advantage of electricity-sipping LEDs, by using them at new stores in both exterior signs and to light store interiors. Lawson also plans to install systems this year that automatically regulate interior temperature and light levels, the newspaper reported.

    FamilyMart is currently testing LED exterior sign lights at 17 branches across Japan, and plans to keep an eye out for any new cost reductions or improvements in technology that it can install in its stores, according to the Mainichi Daily News report.

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