Home > Food Waste in Japan - Fast Facts




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Nineteen million tons. That’s how much food Japan throws away every year, according to the Ministry of the Environment. As if that weren’t bad enough, up to 9 million tons of this food is disposed of before its expiration date.
- Metropolis magazine

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Every year manufacturers end up taking back ¥114 billion (about USD 1 billion) worth of food, of which only 16 percent is resold through other channels. The rest is thrown away, even though it is perfectly safe to eat.
- Japan Times

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Japan's food self-sufficiency now stands at 39% on a calorie basis - the rest is imported from abroad. Transposing calories into monetary values, Japan's food losses are roughly equal to the total annual output of its agricultural and fishery industries.
- MAFF

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Japan burns or buries 3.3 million tons of commercial food waste every year. Then it imports 10 million tons of corn to feed animals, more than any other country.
- Japan Times

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Of the more than 6 million tons of waste from food makers, distributors and restaurants each year, about 2 million tons is turned into animal feed and 640,000 tons is converted to fertilizer. The remainder, which can be anything from bread crumbs to residue from brewing alcohol, costs companies an average of ¥12,000 ($120) a ton to dispose of through the garbage system
- MAFF

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In 2010, Japan discarded approximately 18 million tonnes of food annually—five to eight million tonnes of that food was considered edible when it was disdiscarded. This was equal to the total rice produced domestically in the country
- Food Tank

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Food waste is waste that the maker, distributer or retailer decides not to sell, though it is perfectly edible. The term in the food industry is “food loss” and basically indicates a business decision to lose profit on saleable goods.
- United Nations University

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Three to four million tonnes of food waste in Japan came from the food industry and another two to four million from individual households; this is comparable to the total amount of food aid distributed worldwide (about four million tonnes).
- Food Tank

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The value of food wasted in Japan is worth a massive ¥11trn (US$101.6bn) annually. With a population of about 1 25 million, that works out to be ¥100,000 (US$ 1,000) person per year
- MAFF

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Food mileage is calculated by multiplying the transportation distance with the volume of food transported. The higher the food mileage the larger the load placed on the global environment. Japan's index in 2001 was 900 billion ton-kilometres, more than three times that of the United States, which has more than twice Japan's population.
- MAFF/Just-Food

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Around ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 worth of lunch boxes are thrown away daily from convenience shops. Multiplied by almost 41,000 such shops in Japan, that brings the waste, in retail terms, to a staggering ¥220bn per year. Enough to feed 50 million people for a year.
- Shukan magazine/Just-Food

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