The Impacts of Japanese Food Losses and Food Waste on Global Natural Resources and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

15 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Yosuke Munesue

Yosuke Munesue

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Toshihiko Masui

National Institute for Environmental Studies

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Munesue, Yosuke and Masui, Toshihiko, The Impacts of Japanese Food Losses and Food Waste on Global Natural Resources and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (October 2019). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 23, Issue 5, pp. 1196-1210, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3608841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12863

Yosuke Munesue (Contact Author)

Tokyo Institute of Technology

2-12-1 O-okayama, Meguro-ku
Tokyo 152-8550, 52-8552
Japan

Toshihiko Masui

National Institute for Environmental Studies ( email )

16-2 Onogawa
Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506
Japan

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
10
Abstract Views
446
PlumX Metrics