Japanese retailer AEON TOHOKU, in partnership with Toyota Motor and the Japanese towns of Futaba and Namie, has signed a basic agreement to create a mobile retail business.

As part of the agreement, AEON TOHOKU will launch the mobile retail business for residents in specified reconstruction and revitalisation bases, as well as other areas in the two towns.

The initiative aims to help meet the need for increased shopping access in these areas, where it is currently limited.

Futaba and Namie will provide information on the areas and work together with their partner companies to resolve issues faced by local residents.

These include the demand from residents for a mobile retail option, the locations of existing stores in towns and the living conditions of senior residents.

Toyota will provide a fuel cell mobile retail vehicle, which will be operated by AEON TOHOKU.

The company said the vehicle will be powered by hydrogen. It is also looking at ways to implement hydrogen-based technologies to help cities of the future.

In a joint statement, the parties involved said: “The two municipalities and two companies involved in the basic agreement aim to support residents experiencing difficulties with everyday shopping, through the establishment of a mobile retail business.

“Drawing on respective resources and expertise, the intention is to contribute to regional sustainability and environmental conservation to stimulate reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

“In this way, the four signatories aim to resolve regional issues, improve administrative services, and build sustainable cities of the future.”

In addition to the mobile retail business, the parties plan to deepen their partnership and create other services for the benefit of local residents in the future.

AEON TOHOKU is a subsidiary of AEON, a Japanese multinational holding company of ÆON Group.