The "charity vending machine" made its debut in Japan this week, joining a long list of unorthodox devices that sell everything from insects to eggs.
Like many typical vending machines, the charity machine sells drinks, but it also deducts donations if the user wishes.
Devised by local volunteer group Miyagi Heartful Vendor (MHV) to raise donations for good causes, it is the first of its kind in Japan. MHV is a volunteer organization of representatives of local companies and welfare groups. The machine was made to order.
The prototype was installed on the Tohoku Fukushi University campus in Sendai's Aoba Ward. The university is known for its focus on welfare issues.
At first glance the vending machine appears just like any other. Above the coin slot, however, are two buttons: one for a 10-yen donation, the other for a 100-yen donation. When buying a drink, customers can push the buttons in combination to make a donation.
For example, if they push the 10-yen button twice, a total of 20 yen will be taken from the change as a donation.
They can also donate without buying a drink, or buy a drink without making a donation.
The money will go to the Miyagi prefectural branch of the Central Community Chest of Japan, which will distribute the funds to social welfare facilities and victims of natural disasters.