If you are caught short of power for your mobile phone while out and about, your options are often limited to buying an expensive portable battery unit or, in the case of certain, service providers, stopping in at a branch of your phone company to ask the staff to charge up your device for you.
Now certain vending machines at ten locations in Tokyo allow you to charge up your phone for free. Starting February 8th from select numbers of Dydo Drink vending machines, a charger unit on the side of the machine offers a USB port for providing a free emergency power boost for five minutes per person, according to a Dydo press release. It is particularly aimed at students and foreign tourists, who are likely to use their phones and tablets a lot while outside. Since this is ostensibly a marketing stunt rather than a viable addition to the infrastructure, Dydo asks users to post a message on social media using the hashtag #dydocharge.
There is no official information on when the trial will end, though we anticipate similar schemes to remain in place at least until the end of the Tokyo Olympics in summer 2020.
Vending machines are ubiquitous in Japan and, as such, have often offered special services and products that go beyond the usual snacks and beverages. For example, certain vending machines have screens for displaying important public information (such as about earthquakes), while others even let you take a selfie. Dydo also previously launched a free umbrella rental service from its vending machines in 2015.