Vending machine

Though few outsiders know it, Tokyo suffers from an overabundance of vending machines (jidou hanbaiki) and strange statistics; combine the two and you have an interesting peek at a very thirsty society.

A stroll through the streets of Tokyo has you bumping into the city's 2.7 million beverage vending machines every few feet, and the mushrooming of these convenient caddies shows no signs of letting up. Your mind's not playing tricks on you if you thought new ones sprung up on your block overnight. From 1998 to 1999 there was a 101.7% increase in the number of beverage vending machines.

If you've ever wondered if a city - even a metropolis of 12 million - could possibly support so many soda machines at an average cost of JY100 a can, the proof is in the numbers. These quirky beverage machine facts and figures will make you wonder how Tokyo is not positively drowning in coffee, tea and soft drinks. Vanessa Asell

- Roughly JY3,086,073,600,000 was spent on beverages last year

- There are more than 2,651,800 beverage vending machines in Japan

- From 1998 to 1999, the amount of money spent on beverages doubled

We are talking money here, so let's have a look at quantity.

- More than 14,500,000,000 liters of soft drinks is consumed yearly

- Every year the last five years, consumption rose 500,000,000 liters

The good news is that recycling statistics are also on the rise. The below percentages are taken from a 1996 to 1998 study by the Japan Soft Drink Association. And those PET bottles sure need some working on.

-65% of bottles were recycled
-77.3% of steel cans were recycled
-70.2% of aluminum cans were recycled
-2.9% of PET bottles were recycled

For further info (in Japanese only):
Japan Soft Drink Association
Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association

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