Burger King to Return to Japan After 5-year Absence

The Burger King fast-food chain is set to return to Japan after a five-year absence with a new store due in mid-2007, its Asian partners said Friday.

Lotte and corporate turnaround company Revamp will run the stores as a joint venture under a franchise agreement with U.S. chain Burger King, according to a joint press release issued Friday.

The partners hope to open 100 stores in Japan within five years, starting with a store in Tokyo in mid-2007, the release said.

Burger King's previous foray into the Japanese market with partners including Japan Tobacco Inc. lasted from 1996 to 2001. But a price war with McDonald's Japan and weak sales had prompted the burger chain to withdraw from the country.

Lotte and Revamp are also bringing the U.S. doughnut chain Krispy Kreme to Japan under an agreement with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.

The first Krispy Kreme store opened Friday in Tokyo.