International Asia Japan’s FamilyMart apologizes, shuts down store after viral rat video

Japan’s FamilyMart apologizes, shuts down store after viral rat video

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Tokyo — Japanese convenience store FamilyMart issued an apology after a video showing several rats supposedly running around one of its stores went viral on Twitter and YouTube.

The store, located in Tokyo’s widely-popular Shibuya district, is closed until further notice.

Investigations into the alleged rodent infestation are ongoing. The company says it will take steps both to disinfect the surroundings and prevent further occurrences, before even deciding whether or not the store should be reopened.

In its statement FamilyMart said, “We deeply apologise for making you feel uncomfortable and uneasy. We take this case seriously.

“We will proceed with measures such as disinfection… and will consider the possibility of resuming operations [after considering the]…environment of the store.”

The videos posted on social media show at least six rats in the store. Some are running across the floor, while others are climbing down open refrigerated shelves filled with food.

The videos have been viewed almost 6 million times, although media outfit Reuters said that it has been unable to independently identify whether the video is authentic or not.

The convenience store is popular across Japan and has outlets in other countries in Asia as well.

This is not the first time this year that FamilyMart has been in the spotlight for breaches in sanitation. The company fired one of its staff after a video was made public of him licking food items.

But there have been breaches in other Japanese stores as well. In a 7-11 outlet, two workers were fired in February after one of them filmed the other spitting into a hotpot container. At popular sushi chain Kira Sushi, a chef was caught on video throwing a piece of fish into a garbage receptacle and then taking it back to a food preparation table, also in February.

In the following month, a worker wearing a mask at another restaurant, Ootoya, was caught on film exposing himself. This caused the closure of most of Ootoya’s 350 stores for one day so that management could conduct emergency training.

Dealing with an unwanted rodent issue

Unfortunately, rats are a serious problem, since they are carriers of disease, can cause considerable damage to property, and even contaminate food.

The best way to ensure that rats do not return to one’s living or commercial area is to exterminate them, although there are those who would argue that it would be more humane to let them go free.

One way to deal with this kind of infestation is to set traps, whether they are snap traps, live traps or glue boards.

While this may be the easiest way to deal with the problem, some rats are simply too clever, or too big, to be trapped effectively.

Also, these traps need to be put in hard to reach areas, out of the way of pets and small children.

Others choose to use rodent baits or rodenticides to deal with the situation. For serious cases, consulting with a pest control professional is the most advisable step. / TISG

Read related: Rats caught on camera feasting at PM Lee’s own constituency 

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