Visa International said Lawson, a major Japanese convenience store chain, is accepting Visa cards at all 6,800 of its stores.

Lawson, a subsidiary of Daiei Group, is the first nationwide convenience retailer in Japan to accept credit cards.

Fumio Tabuchi, general manager of the planning department of Daiei OMC, which is a member of Visa, said convenience stores in Japan sell everything from small-ticket items like stationery to travel and concert tickets.

With card acceptance, he said, "we aim to meet the needs of extremely discerning customers who continue to demand greater convenience and flexibility in payment options."

Customer signatures are not required for purchases totaling less than $80.

In September, Daiei OMC launched the Lawson Campal Visa card, targeted at university students older than 18.

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