Business Case Language Module - Japan

Economic and Environmental Impacts of Company Policies on Merchandize Discounting and Disposal:
A Case of Seven-Eleven Japan Co.


  • Goal
    Using this business case on Seven-Eleven Japan Co. (hereafter referred to as ‘7/11 Japan’), students will learn the current situation of food disposal in Japan as well the role that convenience stores play. After examining the positions franchise owners and customers have taken on whether or not expired food should be thrown away, students act out a series of role plays to express their positions utilizing frequently-used vocabulary. Presentation skills will also to be polished using appropriate ettiquette and speech-style for business settings in Japan.

  • Summary of the Case
    Currently, there are more than 45,000 convenience stores in Japan and they play a very important role in people’s daily lives. One statistics suggests that more than 70% of people age 10 to 60 go a convenience store at least once a week. In contemporary Japan, convenience stores are a daily destination for a variety of ready-made foods.Perishable foods have ‘best if eaten by’ date and time. Most convenience stores follow a strict schedule and immediately dispose of foods prior to their expiration. This occurs multiple times each day. In 2010, about 220,000 tons of edible but expired food ended up in the garbage at convenience stores in Japan. Considering that Japan’s food selfsufficiency rate was below 40%, which is one of the lowest rate among developed countries, food disposal quantities deserve much attention.After a brief introduction on convenience stores in Japan and food disposal policies at 7/11 Japan, the class discussed whether soon to expire perishable foods should be sold at discount price from the viewpoints of 7/11 Japan’s management, consumers and franchise owners.
  • Class
    Japanese 4122 (Advanced Conversation & Composition II) Spring 2013 is a 3-credit course for fourth-year Japanese students. The students must have taken Japanese 121 GW-CIBER Business Case Development (Advanced Conversation & Composition I) or must have spent at least a semester in Japan and demonstrate an equivalent ability in conversation and writing skills.The class focused on gradual development of writing and speaking skills necessary for completion of position statements and simulated discussions.The class met twice a week for 75 minutes between January 15 through April 25, 2013.
  • Participants
    Four students (1 graduate student, 2 seniors and 1 freshman)Their proficiency levels were Advanced-Low (3 students) and Intermediate-High (1 students) on the ACTFL rating scale.
  • Time Table
    The business case module was conducted between March 20 through April 25 of the Spring Semester 2013.The module was divided into two parts: Case Study Preparation Weeks (Week 1~3) and Case Study Weeks (Week 4~6).The Case Study Preparation Weeks were created so that students could learn the following three aspects of 7/11 Japan before starting the case:
  1. Unique challenges that the founders of 7/11 Japan faced.
  2. Factors contributing to the extreme success of 7/11 Japan.
  3. Differences between 7/11 Japan and 7/11 USA.
Week Task Teaching Materials Quiz/Composition/Asgn’s
1 Case Preparation Week #1
1) Watch 7/11 DVD
2) Comprehension check on the DVD
3) Summarizing the story on the DVD using targeted compound verbs
4) Role play I: 7/11 America CEO vs. Mr. Suzuki & Mr. Shimizu
– Discussion focus on compound verbs (list of compound verbs)
1) DVD 「プロジェクトX 挑戦者たち 第VI期 日米逆 転! コンビニを作った素人 たち ‘Project X ~Challengers~ Complete Beginners who started convenience stores in Japan’
2) Vocabulary list for the DVD (Attachment to be studied using
3) PowerPoint for Comprehensive questions
4) List of Compound verbs ( PDF )
1) Make short sentences using compound verbs from one assigned part of the video (PDF )
2) Add one question to instructors questions on the quiz to deepen comprehension of the video (Powerpoint)
2 Case Preparation Week #2
Role play II: Ito Yokado upper management vs. Mr. Suzuki & Mr. Shimizu
  1) Quiz on vocabulary & compound verbs (PDF)
2) Visit local Seven-Eleven and report in class
3 Case Preparation Week #3
Discussion on why 7/11 Japan succeeded in Japan
  Position paper “Do you think 7/11 USA was successful?” (See Students’ Writing Samples)
4 Case Week #1
1) Sample class presentations of position papers
Easel pad on which students write their ideas (brainstorming activity) (See Students’ Work) Read the assigned part of the case and prepare to present the summary in English
5 Case Week #2
1) Read Chapter I ~Prologue~
2) Role play III: Report 7/11 case as a Englishspeaking TV reporter
Case 「ビジネス・ ケーススタディ:7-11 見切り販売と食料廃棄(“Merchandise discounting and disposal: A case of Seven-Eleven Japan”) (PDF) Write “a letter to a newspaper” stating your opinion on 7/11 food disposal to Japanese (Draft sample with instructor corrections and final version sample here)
6 Case Week #3
1) Discussion on various opinions on the case from various people
2) Role play IV: Report 7/11 case as a Japanese TV reporter (Attachment #13: currently under editing)