The remarkable thing is that this company used to sell those bikes at a very low price, which resulted in more abandoned bikes or carelessly parked. By renting them, users must (well, should) return them at some point. The company is expanding this model in cities and colleges around Japan.
An added note: public rental services in Europe are managed by advertising companies (JCDecaux for Paris and Lyon and ClearChannel in Barcelona).
[Source: Japan for Sustainability]