The closure of public institutions forced a number of wholesale retailers in northern Japan to install vending machines to keep their business running. For instance, Sapporo-based fishmonger Chibasuisan, which used to supply fish to local nurseries and schools, switched its sales to a vending machine in August 2021. “It’s nice to be able to take your time to decide what to get without having in-person interactions,” says customer Teruyuki Nagai. Another company, which normally provides confectionery to hotels and airlines, has been selling a range of its frozen cakes via a vending machine as well. This has proved so successful that the machine accounts for a quarter of its total sales. Sanden Retail Systems Corp., which makes the machines, says that it operated across the majority of Japanese prefectures in August 2021.