Japan's agricultural ministry estimates that 23 million tons of food was discarded in 2007, about ¥11 trillion worth, which is the monetary equivalent of Japan's annual agricultural output. Moreover, it cost ¥2 trillion to process that waste.
In Tokyo alone, food accounts for 30 percent of all household waste. That's about 6,000 tons a day, which is enough to keep 4.5 million starving people alive for a day.
Japan's 40-percent food self-sufficiency rate is the lowest of all G7 countries, which means the bulk of Japan's food supply is imported. And yet a third of that food ends up in the garbage.
Japanese restaurants throw away 31 percent of the food they prepare.
I don't know the statistics on other countries, but this is a shock. I grew up learning to clean my plate, and I still do. My whole family does, but we are also very choosie about what we eat. We choose to buy food without additives, without animal products in them, without sugar, and as much as possible, locally grown. That limits what we can get pretty much, and we have similar standards when we eat out. We don't waste much of that.
The scale of the waste is appalling.
Japan loves wasting food | The Japan Times Online