Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

Japan’s economy is the third most prosperous in the entire world. Therefore, it makes sense that American businesses want to set up shop in Japan.

That can be difficult, though, especially for Western companies, who may lack insight into the particular culture of Japan and its shoppers.

If ever you visited the Land of the Rising Sun, or are just curious, you might have wondered: Is Walmart in Japan? It is true that there are Walmart stores in Japan, although it might not seem like you would think.

Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

Is Walmart In Japan In 2022?

Walmart’s Japan presence is defined by the retaining of a share in Sieyu’s supermarket chain, and the partnership it has with Rakuten. Rakuten in Japan is Japan’s most prominent eCommerce firm. Sieyu was previously a Walmart subsidiary. In November 2020 however, Walmart revealed that 85 percent was being sold.

  • To learn more about Walmart stores in Japan, Walmart’s relationship with Rakuten, and why Walmart sold their shares in Seiyu, see everything below!
  • Japan: How many Walmarts are there?

    Walmart Japan has no actual stores by its own brand. Walmart Japan is the owner and operator of Japanese Seiyu grocery chains.

    According to Bridget Goldschmidt of, there are about 300 Seiyu locations all throughout Japan.

    Some of these are located in Tokyo’s vicinity, including a number near Nagano or Kyoto.

    Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

    Seiyu: What Does It Mean?

    Seiyu stands for the Japanese grocery store chain, which Walmart bought to its full ownership in 2008.

    Established in 1963, the company has long been known for its reliability in Japan. Walmart first purchased a 37-percent stake in the business in 2002.

    Three years later, Walmart got its hands on a majority stake.

    Three years later, just six years after the initial investment, Walmart was made solely owner and absorbed Seiyu in its portfolio.

    Seiyu Supermarkets look more like Walmart Neighborhood Markets. Seiyu Hypermarkets are closer to Walmart Supercenters.

    Another Seiyu General Merchandise location is located in Tokyo. It doesn’t sell food.

    Christian Monson wrote about shopping in Japan and described some of the similarities and differences between Seiyu and Walmart.

    For starters, Monson thinks the Seiyu Supermarkets are almost totally comparable to Walmart Neighborhood Markets.

    Seiyu Supermarkets, he says, are very similar to Western supermarkets.

    Monson thinks that hypermarkets are the most different.

    Seiyu Hybridmarkets are placed underground in large buildings and bustling urban centers such as Tokyo, according to him.

    Walmart could have been attracted to Seiyu for this reason. Supercenters tend not to be easily found in large urban areas.

  • Walmart acquired Seiyu to gain full access in one or two cities to millions more shoppers!
  • Monson adds that products sold in Seiyu shops can vary (and be culturally relevant); some stores even sell kimonos to the whole family.

    Japan: What were the challenges faced by Walmart?

    It is so difficult in Japan to be successful.

  • Unfortunately Walmart’s business model, steeply discounting goods, was not able to overcome the Japanese disgust for products they perceive as cheap.
  • Although that may seem unbending, the change didn’t happen quickly enough to have a significant impact on Seiyu’s sales already struggling.

  • Nikkei Asian also refers to Walmart’s “failure to take into account local customs, diet habits and labor relations.”
  • A change in the supply chain led to a popular item vanishing from stores; that alone caused customers, comfortable with the previous selection, to avoid Seiyu .

    This article states that Walmart managers tended to be more concerned with managerial staff than the store workers.

    Walmart’s preference for frozen foods, which are very common in the U.S., was confusing to Japanese customers who were used to buying fresh produce and meats.

    Is Walmart In Japan In 2022? (Yes, But Not What You Think)

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