Vending machines are a common sight in Japan. Most dispense beverages such as juice and tea. According to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association, the majority of vending machines throughout the coutry are beverage-vending machines. The next, in order of numbers, are vending machines for cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, flowers, canned food, and magazines. There were at last count (in the year 2000) a total of 5,607,500 automatic vending and dispensing machines throughout Japan. Dispensing machines include ticket dispensers, small change machines, coin lockers, and ATM cash dispensers. Total sales from these machines in the year 2000 was 7.1 trillion yen. This is considerably more than the 6.3 trillion yen annual sales for convenience stores and is a clear indication of the degree to which the vending machine permeates Japanese society.
Vending machines are, of course, accessible to anyone, and there has been criticism that they make it too easy for underage young people to obtain cigarettes and liquor. One measure instated to discourage this is to turn off, from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am, the vending machines that sell cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.