by Ewa Nowogorski
If you were to try to set up a condom vending machine in the United States, that machine would be vandalized and looted within a day of being set up. The same goes for alcohol and cigarette machines. Locations with those set up would become hotspots for gangs and people of darker walks of life. The consequences of these machines would be far greater than what the machine owner could ever expect.
But in Japan, these machines are littered around the country, especially in suburban or rural areas where convenience stores are not as common. Older vending machines used to not have any sort of ID verification, so even a 5 year old kid who knew how to insert coins into a slot could buy a can of alcohol or a pack of cigarettes if they wanted to. A lot of machines have been switched out to more modern ones that have ID card verification or face verification, but the face verification AI of those machines can easily be rigged in your favor. And condoms are something also sold in vending machines to avoid the embarrassment of having a stranger be aware of your private purchases. A high population density, low crime rate, and extreme need for convenience in Japan have made vending machines wildly successful, and a lot of daily essential products besides alcohol and cigarettes can also be purchased from them.