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Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh. Image: AP/Gene J. Puskar

Starbucks to open its first sign language store in Japan on June 27

June 26th, 2020

American coffeehouses chain Starbucks is set to open its first store in Japan with sign-language ability for its hearing-impaired customers.

The store, located in Kunitachi, Tokyo, will open tomorrow, June 27, as per Kyodo News on Wednesday, June 24. In support of the deaf community, the store also has 19 hearing-impaired employees among its 25 staff members.

20200626 Starbucks

Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh (Image: AP/Gene J. Puskar)

Starbucks Japan also showed the store, which “proudly serves in sign language,” via Twitter last Wednesday.

手話が共通言語となる『スターバックス コーヒー nonowa国立店』 が6/27(土)にオープンします。聴者と聴覚に障がいのあるパートナーが共に働き、誰もが自分らしく活躍できる居場所づくりを目指します。ご来店の際には整理券が必要となります。 https://t.co/4dhfSWQ4P0 pic.twitter.com/WS6azHp0CM

— スターバックス コーヒー (@Starbucks_J) June 24, 2020

“I want everyone, people with or without hearing disability, to enjoy our coffee casually,” a spokesperson of Starbucks, Eri Otsuka, said in sign language as per the report.

The store will only offer takeout for the time being amid the COVID-19 crisis. It will also hand out numbered tickets for customer entry.

The new outlet in Japan will be the fifth “signing store” in the world operated by the multinational coffee chain company. At the moment, the four other stores are located at Malaysia, the United States and China.

Some hearing-impaired Starbucks employees in Japan apparently wanted to open their own signing store in the country after Malaysia opened its first signing store in 2016.

Aside from opening a new signing store, according to the report, Starbucks is also stepping up its efforts in creating outlets that highlight diversity and inclusion.  /ra

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