Japan’s practices on food waste reduction

In Food Loss and Waste Policy: From Theory to Practice
Chapter: 10
Book Chapter

Reducing food loss and waste (FLW) has become a global issue. Japan was one of the first countries to address FLW issues by launching a policy initiative focused on FLW management in 2000. Since then, the amount showed a reduction, but this has levelled off in recent years. FLW remains a critical issue, owing to the country’s low food self-sufficiency rate and shortage of available landfill sites for waste disposal. It is estimated that the annual amount of FLW generation in Japan is 25.31 million tonnes, of which the amount of "food loss", which is food that can be eaten but is thrown away, is 6 million tonnes in 2020. Out of these 6 million tonnes, 3.24 million tonnes come from the business sector, mainly from substandard products, returned goods, unsold goods and leftovers, and 2.76 million tonnes come from the household sector, mainly from leftovers, untouched food (direct disposal) and over-peeling (excessive removal). To achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3, Japan has set a national target of halving food loss from the total in 2000 by the year 2030. This chapter introduces an overview of policies related to FLW (Food Waste Recycling Act in 2000 and Act on Promotion Food Loss and Waste Reduction in 2019), trends on FLW generation and good practices being undertaken to reduce FLW by governments at both the national and local levels as well as by the private sector in Japan.