Wendy's fast food chain says 'sayonara' to Japan

Wendy's (WEN) will close all of its 71 restaurants in Japan by the end of the month, the chain's Japanese franchisee, Zensho Co. Ltd., announced on Friday. The news arrived just a matter of days after rival McDonald's (MCD) reported that sales in Japan were so poor in November that they offset strong results in Australia and helped weigh the entire Asian region's performance down during the month.

The unexpected Wendy's closings come despite the franchisee's profitable fiscal year, which ended in March 2009, and sales of 6.2 billion yen ($70 million) at its Wendy's restaurants. Zensho, which bought the country's franchises from supermarket chain Daiei in 2002, merely said it was making the move because it needed to focus on its other interests, chiefly the Sukiya beef bowl chain.