JAPAN: the numbers of supermarkets and stores using CO2 as cooling gas should triple by next year. The Japanese government has already selected 18 companies which will receive grants as part of the installation of the CO2 refrigeration technology.

On July 11th, 2014, Japan’s Refrigerant and Environmental Conservation Organization (JERCO) announced the establishment of a first draft selection in the capital grant program set up by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE). The program should provide a grant totalling €36 million during 2014 in order to encourage the use of natural refrigerants in the next six months.

LAWSON plans 550 CO2 stores for March 2015 

One leader in Japanese convenience store market (CVS) has heavily invested in new stores equipped with CO2 refrigeration systems. LAWSON already has currently 150 CO2 CVS. LAWSON will receive subsidies if the company decides to invest in other CO2 stores up to a total of 550 CO2 stores by March 2015.

According to Mr. Uto, the main developer of the LAWSON CO2 technology, the company is actively working for the development of refrigeration technologies with CO2. These installations respect the standards even if they do not fall under the grant program. The company could reach the impressive figure of 1,000 new stores installed with CO2 cooling gas before the end of 2015.


The advanced technologies offered by Japanese suppliers such as Panasonic and Sanden meet the needs of the GMS in urban zones. These new technologies will have to equip as many as 20 additional CVS. 7-ELEVEN the Japanese leader of CVS market and the biggest operator in the world in franchise and license convenience stores with more than 50,000 points of sale will be involved. The company will add 11 new CO2 stores and will officially join “the CVS CO2 team”, in LAWSON (+211), MINI STOP (CVS brand of AEON Group) (+7) and CIRCLE K SUNKUS (+2) side.

18 new supermarkets equipped with CO2 “new technology”

In addition to the large number of news CVS in the CO2, 18 new supermarkets will be added to the list in the next six months. AEON RETAIL will add at least 5 through his brand AEON and MAXVALU. Coop SAPPORO will add 2 new CO2 supermarket and U CO-OP and MIYIAGI Coop wants to add a new CO2 market to the existing ones. ITO YOKADO a Japanese general merchandise store of SEVEN & I HOLDINGS group will install their first 3 CO2 supermarkets from March 2015.

In other news, 31 users, including brands like MEIJI, BASKIN ROBBINS, KEWPIE and MARUHA NICHIRO should receive a MEO grant for their cold storage projects. These projects concern 33 new cold rooms using natural coolers. The CO2 is often used as secondary cooler to reduce the ammonia load in the main cycle of refrigeration.

Japanese end users can apply for additional funding to invest in the natural refrigerant technologies in their stores. The Department accepts requests from operators for the second call for applications until August 8th, 2014.