Rakuten's drones will soon start delivering goods from convenience store chain Lawson to residents of a Japanese city hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Fred Katayama reports.
Residents of a Japanese city hard hit by the earthquake of 2011 will soon get goods from a convenience store - delivered by drones. Japan's largest online retailer, Rakuten, built the remote-controlled aircraft. The drone will deliver goods from convenience store chain Lawson to residents of Minami Soma which is just north of the Fukushima nuclear plant that suffered a meltdown after a massive earthquake and tsunami. Minami Soma has few convenience stores. Minami Soma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai: SOUNDBITE: KATSUNOBU SAKURAI, MAYOR, MINAMI SOMA, (ENGLISH DUBBED OVER JAPANESE) SAYING: "Creating a new service by combining convenience stores, mobile vendors, and drones leads to the community's revitalization. It also ensures convenience. If this type of service materializes in Minami Soma city, I expect it would have a big impact on other regions as well." Rakuten says it's not cost-effective to use drones for delivery to remote regions, so it plans to develop other types, such as drones that swim in the ocean.