Skylark Holdings, a major Japanese restaurant chain operator, has announced it will ban plastic straws in all of its restaurants by 2020.
The move will make the company the first major Japanese chain restaurant to ban straws.
Skylark will begin by ending the use of disposable plastic straws in one of its chain family restaurants by the end of the year. Straws are currently offered at self-serve drink counters in its 1,300 locations.
The group's other restaurant chains will soon follow. All 3,200 restaurants, both in Japan and overseas, will completely stop using plastic straws by 2020.
Skylark says the group's restaurants use as many as 105 million straws a year.
Company officials say it is their corporate responsibility to take action when pollution from plastic waste has become a serious environmental issue around the world.
The group says it will continue to provide straws upon request for customers who need them, such as children or persons with disabilities. It says it will consider the introduction of substitute straws that use biodegradable plastics or food-derived materials.
In the United States, Starbucks and American Airlines have recently promised to phase out plastic straws as a push by environmentalists against plastic waste gains traction.