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Legislation calling for greater efforts to curb the waste of edible food — at every stage from production to consumption — has been enacted by the Diet. It requires the national government to come up with a basic policy to address the “food loss” problem and makes it mandatory for local governments to craft specific plans of action. While the problem of overproduction and sales is often highlighted in discussing the issue, consumers can play a significant role in reducing such waste by changing their own behavior.

The government estimates that of the 27.59 million tons of food wasted in this country in fiscal 2016, food still fit for consumption amounted to 6.43 million tons — a volume that has remained roughly unchanged for the past several years. That is equivalent to each person in Japan throwing away one rice bowl of food every day — roughly double the annual worldwide food aid distributed to poor countries suffering from food shortages.

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