Photo/IllutrationA drone departing from the rooftop of a Seiyu store heads toward Sarushima island off Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on June 17. (Fumiko Kuribayashi)

  • Photo/Illustraion

YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa Prefecture--A drone service will start on July 4 to deliver or replenish supplies mainly for beachgoers and picnickers on an uninhabited island off Yokosuka.

E-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. and supermarket chain Seiyu GK said June 17 that their drone delivery service to Sarushima island will last for about three months.

The products will come from the Seiyu Livin Yokosuka Store and fly for about 1.5 kilometers to the island for pickup by the customers.

There are only a few shipping services to Sarushima, and it is difficult to leave the island for a quick shopping run.

Visitors who come for bathing and barbeques on the island can use an app to order food, drinks and other supplies from the Seiyu Livin Yokosuka Store.

Delivery staff of the store will pack and ship the orders, which will arrive on the island in about five minutes.

The drone can carry products weighing up to 5 kilograms. The shipping cost is 500 yen ($4.60), including tax.

Customers can check the drone’s position and its expected arrival time through the app.

Rakuten and Seiyu started a joint online supermarket last October.

They now use Seiyu stores as merchandise warehouses, and pack and ship products there for nearby customers. Their joint efforts led to the idea for the drone delivery service.

“We would like to expand the service in the near future for people who have difficulty going shopping,” Koji Ando, managing executive officer of Rakuten, said.