Making food loss reduction a national initiative

March 16 , 2018

Komeito House of Councillors member Toshiko TakeyaKomeito House of Councillors member Toshiko Takeya

The Komei Shimbun, Komeito’s daily organ, recently interviewed Toshiko Takeya, the House of Councillors member who heads the party’s project team to reduce food loss, on a bill being drafted toward that end.

Food loss is that which industrialized societies dispose as waste: Japan alone dumps 6.21 million tons of food annually—equal to the amount consume by Tokyo residents each year—despite one in seven children living in poverty, many who are deprived of sufficient nutrition. The situation can be found worldwide, leading the United Nations to include food loss reduction as part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targeting to pare the amount of wasted food by half.

In Japan, the bill Komeito is helping to draft aims to establish food loss reduction as a national initiative in which governments, both local and central, as well as consumers and food industry operators can all tackle together, explained Takeya. The first step toward this end is conducting various hearings of experts and government officials to concretize basic policy, which will enable local governments to devise action plans and implement them.

Another facet of the initiative calls for education on preventing food loss among ordinary citizens and food-related enterprises. Individuals and organizations that engage in the initiative and achieve outstanding results will be publically recognized.

A third component will be state support for food banks that collect edibles donated from households and businesses to donate to the needy. Measures to incentivize the private sector into participating in the initiative will also be adopted.

While some legislative steps have been taken to reduce garbage and promote food recycling, explains Takeya, they have not significantly influenced food loss. The party’s plan going forward, she said, is to build consensus among all political parties in order to pass the bill during the current Diet session.