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11 December 2009

FamilyMart & Orix Partnership - GreenITers

FamilyMart will enter the car-sharing market next month under a tie-up with Orix Auto Corp., aiming to expand the service to 500 convenience stores in two to three years in Japan.

Hmm... Guess we'll finally start seeing some real エコ ideas hitting the streets of Japan real soon--

Back home I use the car sharing service ZipCar (www.zipcar.com) whenever I needed a car bigger than my Scion xB to use. Now that I'm here in Japan where public transport goes everywhere I need to go, the only time I really need to use a car is when I'm delivering magazines, or picking up big items from Nittori or the occasional IKEA run to Osaka. I was just telling a friend here that in America I'd be using ZipCar instead of borrowing my roommate's car for stuff like this... You'd think Japan would be *ahead* of the curve on this one, right?

Better supporting infrastructure: coveience stores in Japan are EVERYWHERE. They sell EVERYTHING. I buy something from one everyday, usually a Coke or something like that. But I've bought concert and movie tickets, motorcycle insurance, bus tickets, pay all my utility, cellphone, and internet bills there, and sent all sorts of packages from the Lawson and 7-ll in my neighborhood. having a carshare program via the "conbini" makes sense in Japan. Also they're ALWAYS near a train/bus station.

Sharing Mentality: Japanese people just plain grow up in a culture that stresses sharing resources and being a member of a group. So if you were the kid that would never share your crayons, here in Japan, you wouldn't have any friends. Also by that same token, most Japanese take care of borrowed items better than their personal items most of the time. Recently I loaned a friend here my other laptop since his was in for warranty repairs... When I received it back 3 weeks later, it came in a new bag and came with a wireless mouse, USB hub and cleaning cloth, as a way of saying thanks. So car shares here would go about the same I think.

Japanese drivers are relatively safer: they tend to take their time and not rush so much when behind the wheel. When I drive in the US, i'm always road-ragin' about something. Here, if a car somehow is in the wrong lane to make a turn, everyone just lets him over into the correct lane. Insurance is actually cheaper as a result.

Nationwide Public Transit that WORKS: Unless you live in the very rural parts of Japan, you can get away with not owning a car, or at the very least, having a motor scooter. In the most urban areas like metro Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and others, owning a car actually costs too much in the long run. Cars here get über taxed--road tax, inspection tax and emissions taxes. Then there's the fact that you can't park overnight on most streets in Japan. Even in the countryside. So unless you have a home with a driveway, you have to pay a parking lot charge per month.

In short, I can't wait to try this out myself when it makes it to the FamilyMart in my part of Nagoya next year.

Posted via web by J7

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