Mitoshi Matsumoto, the man who has waged a David- and- Goliath campaign against Japanese convenience store giant Seven-Eleven, stood next to a roomful of the company's franchisees Thursday, bowed deeply and apologized.
Matsumoto has spent the past 2 years fighting for control of a store that he forced out of business after he refused to operate it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His struggle has been a rallying point for thousands of convenience store owners across the country who have bristled against the company's rigid control of their franchises, hoping that a victory would help them win a measure of independence.
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