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Dream machines

In Japan you’re rarely more than a few paces from the nearest vending machine. There are more than five million of them, on street corners, station platforms, secluded hiking spots and historic temples. Spend a summer in Japan and you will be grateful for the ubiquitous presence of ice-cold soft drinks. Come late autumn, and chilled drinks turn to hot teas, coffees and soups. Drinks – soft and alcoholic – account for half of the machines, the rest offer ice cream, cigarettes, hot meals, even socks and razors, all fully stocked and untroubled by vandals. Many machines are now cash free, needing only a quick flick of a transport pass, others are touch screen. As part of the great post-tsunami energy conservation drive, vending machine makers such as Panasonic Appliance have stepped up efforts to make their machines more eco-friendly. Fuji Electric Retail Service has reduced the energy consumption of its machines by 80 per cent in 10 years. The machines are big earners for the owners, predominantly drinks manufacturers and train companies. Vending machine turnover in Japan last year was over €53bn.

Credits

Models: Ken Nozomi Hashimoto, Taisuke Nakamuro, Saki Asamiya

Hair and Make-up: Kenichi Yaguchi

Producers: Naoko Kato, Natsumi Oh

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