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Japan's 7-Eleven to address underpayment claims amid scrutiny
[TOKYO] Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings, already under nationwide scrutiny over labour issues, said on Tuesday company executives would address claims about employee underpayment at its 7-Eleven convenience store chain.
The Nikkei had earlier reported that the 7-Eleven chain in Japan miscalculated overtime payment for years, possibly since the 1970s, with missed payments running into at least 490 million yen (S$6.12 million).
A Seven & i spokesman said the report was "not inaccurate", and added that top executives of 7-Eleven Japan would make an announcement at 0700 GMT.
The convenience store chain has been under pressure to review its 24-hour store policy, with franchise owners struggling to keep stores staffed around the clock amid the tightest labour market in 40 years.
The company has been testing shorter hours at some stores after the plight of some franchise owners attracted nationwide attention.
The 7-Eleven stores, which originated in the United States but are now owned by a Japanese retail group, expanded rapidly since the 1970s as their 24-hour accessibility proved a perfect match with the country's dense population and late-night work culture.
However, analysts say the Japanese convenience store market is highly saturated, and a demographic crunch means the industry has little room for growth.