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The New York Times reports on what it calls "a grudge match between one of Japan’s most powerful companies and, arguably, one of its most stubborn men," which has resulted in two 7-Eleven stores on a single corner in Osaka.

An excerpt:

"Mitoshi Matsumoto, a franchisee, ran one of the two 7-Elevens until the chain revoked his contract in 2019 after he dared to shorten his operating hours. For over a year, his store has sat empty as he and 7-Eleven have battled in court over control of the shop. Fed up and with no end in sight, the company decided on a stopgap: It built a second shop in what used to be Mr. Matsumoto’s parking lot.

"The conflict’s outcome will determine not just who gets to sell rice balls and cigarettes from one tiny patch of asphalt and concrete. It could also have profound implications for 7-Eleven’s authority over tens of thousands of franchise shops across Japan, part of a convenience store network so ubiquitous that the government considers it vital to the national infrastructure during emergencies."

The fight, the Times writes, "playing out in an Osaka courtroom will have ramifications for 7-Eleven and the rest of Japan’s major franchises, which control the vast majority of the country’s more than 50,000 convenience stores. 7-Eleven accounts for nearly 40 percent of those, and its business practices, for better or worse, have long been viewed as the industry standard."

You can read the story here.