TOKYO, Jan 15 (News On Japan) - Since 2008, about a third of department stores in Japan have closed down, with Ichibata in Shimane the latest to shut its doors, leaving four prefectures in Japan without any department stores at all.
There were 280 department stores throughout Japan in 2008, but that number has dropped to just 180 as of November last year.
Ichibata Department Store closed its doors on Sunday, marking the end of a 65-year history, and a sign of a changing consumer environment.
With the closure of other 'departo' such as Onuma Yamagata Main Store, Sogo Tokushima Store, and Gifu Takashimaya, four prefectures are now without a single department store.
The question arises: why are department stores closing nationwide?
Consumer economy analyst Hiroaki Watanabe suggests, "Shopping malls have emerged, offering a wider variety of products than department stores in front of stations, attracting customers. The rise of internet shopping in recent years has also contributed."
In their wake, new commercial facilities are being opened as part of the redevelopment around train stations.
'Nagasaki Stadium City,' scheduled to open near JR Nagasaki Station, will include a soccer stadium, a basketball arena, and also commercial real estate and hotels, offering music concerts, created by the e-commerce giant 'Japanet.'
In Tokyo, the 'Toyosu Senkyakubanrai,' opening Feb 1, will feature an open-air bath with a 24-hour view of Tokyo Bay and restaurants utilizing its location next to the Toyosu Market.