The Impacts of Japanese Food Losses and Food Waste on Global Natural Resources and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
15 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020
Date Written: October 2019
Japan depends heavily on imports for its food supply. Since 2000, the food self‐sufficiency ratio has remained approximately 40% on a caloric basis. Japanese food wastage (i.e., food losses and food waste) is estimated to have been 6.42 million tonnes (50 kg per capita of wastage) in 2012. These values indicate that food wastage leads to wasted natural resources and excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both in Japan and in countries that export to Japan. This study estimates Japanese food wastage by food item to evaluate impacts on land and water resources and global GHG emissions during the processing, distribution, and consumption phases of the food supply chain while also considering the feed crops needed for livestock production. Despite uncertainties due to data limitations, in 2012, 1.23 million hectares of harvested land were used to produce food that was eventually wasted, and 413 million m3 of water resources were wasted due to Japanese food wastage in agricultural production. Furthermore, unnecessary GHG emissions were 3.51 million tonnes of CO eq. in agricultural production and 0.49 million tonnes of CO eq. in international transportation. The outcomes of the present study can be used to develop countermeasures to food wastage in industrializing Asian countries where food imports are projected to increase and food wastage issues in the consumption stage are expected to become as serious as they currently are in Japan.
Keywords: food loss and food waste, food trade, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Japan, natural resources, sustainable food system
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