Takuya Okamoto, the founder and honorary chairman of Aeon, the thriving retailer that is bucking the trend of struggling supermarkets in Japan, has called for increased liberalisation of the sector. Okamoto says the restrictive regulations on store openings and outlet size, as well as prohibitive licensing laws governing the sale of alcohol and medication, have held back the retail sector and prevented consumers getting the services and goods they require. This is holding back consumer spending and thereby negatively impacting the entire Japanese economy, Okamoto believes.