Zensho Co. Ltd., the sole franchisee for Wendy's in Japan, announced on Thursday that it will end its contract with Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. on its use of the Wendy's trademark in Japan on Dec. 31. Zensho operates 71 Wendy's units in the country, having taken over the stores from Daiei Inc. in 2002. The first Wendy's opened in Japan in 1980.

    Zensho has yet to decide if it will sell Wendy's Japan Inc. as it focuses its resources on its chain of beef bowl restaurants. The Wendy's Japan chain's sales in the year to March 2009 totaled 6.2 billion yen ($70.2 million U.S.).