Green Lawson opens in Tokyo with avatars, aiming for zero food waste

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An avatar remotely operated by an employee greets a customer in Green Lawson in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

Convenience store chain operator Lawson, Inc. on Monday opened its first Green Lawson, aiming to achieve zero food waste and reduce the use of plastic.

The new store, located near JR Otsuka Station in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, offers frozen foods with a relatively long shelf life, among other items in a product lineup that differs slightly from those typically seen in convenience stores. With about 200 square meters of floor space, the store is also somewhat larger than an ordinary convenience store.

To save labor, avatars are in charge of most services, excepting the issuing of tickets and some other services. The avatars are remotely operated by employees and projected on LCD screens in the store. Customers pay at self-checkout registers.

The store aims to hire a wide range of workers, including homemakers and people with disabilities.

In addition to frozen bento boxed meals, the store also offers meals that are prepared in the store upon order as part of efforts to reduce food loss.

Green Lawson does not sell plastic bags and will stop providing wooden spoons and forks by next January.

The company aims to open 100 such stores nationwide by February 2026.