Lawson closes franchise stores after they were found to have falsified food expiration times

Lawson Inc. said Wednesday it closed two of its franchise convenience stores after discovering they had systematically falsified expiration times on some food items prepared in the stores over a period of several years.

The company is now checking all other outlets throughout Japan to see if there have been similar incidents and plans to strengthen its control over their operations, such as by installing a camera in the kitchen and keeping closer track of how many food labels are issued at each store.

It has already closed the two stores that were run by the same franchise owner, who knew about the label tampering by employees, according to Lawson, which operates around 14,000 convenience stores in Japan.

It is not known whether the owner ordered the relabeling.