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Some 77 percent of respondents support the government’s plans to charge customers for plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers from July, a Jiji Press poll has shown.

According to the survey on waste conducted between Jan. 10 and Jan. 13, 49.7 percent said they are supportive of the plastic bag fee, while 27.3 percent said they are somewhat supportive.

On the other hand, 8.8 percent were against the policy, while 12.5 percent were somewhat against, bringing the proportion of respondents opposed to the move to 21.3 percent.

Women were slightly more likely to be supportive of the fee, with 79.9 percent of women respondents in favor as opposed to 74.6 percent of men.

Only 66.7 percent of those aged between 18 and 29 backed the charge, while the rate of support in older age brackets ranged between 70 percent and less than 90 percent.

The survey also asked whether the respondents are aware of the phrase “food waste.” The proportion of respondents who said they know the phrase well was 67.9 percent, up sharply from 51.2 percent in the previous survey. The share of those who did not know the phrase at all fell to 4.6 percent from 13 percent.

When asked about actions taken to reduce food waste, 73.3 percent of respondents said they make sure not to buy too much food and to use it up as much as possible, making this the most common method of cutting down food waste.

Other common methods include not throwing away food that reached its best-by date and consuming it as much as possible, adopted by 48.2 percent of respondents, and freezing leftover food to eat at another time, chosen by 39.8 percent.

The agriculture ministry estimated that food waste reached over 6.43 million tons in fiscal 2016.

The interview-based survey covered 2,000 people of 18 or older across Japan. Valid answers were collected from 62.0 percent of those contacted.

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