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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 September 1 - 7  > Japan emits 16.9 million tons of CO2 a year associated with food imports
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2021 September 1 - 7 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan emits 16.9 million tons of CO2 a year associated with food imports

September 7, 2021

Japan's food self-sufficiency rate in fiscal 2020 was a record low of 37.17%. More than 60% of food consumed came from other countries.

Accordingly, greenhouse gases emitted due to transportation of food are causing a negative impact not only on the global environment but also on farmland and water resources in food producing countries.

Agriculture Ministry data in 2008 show that CO2 emissions associated with food imports in Japan reached 16.9 million tons a year, nearly double the amount emitted in the domestic transport of food.

Importing food is the same as importing virtual water which would be needed if Japan produced the imported food domestically. The University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science estimates that the amount of virtual water in Japan was about 62.7 billion cubic meters in 2008, equivalent to two thirds of the total actual use of about 90 billion cubic meters.

Japan is endowed with favorable conditions for agricultural production. Boosting domestic agriculture and increasing the country's food self-sufficiency rate will ensure a stable supply of food, maintain farmland which increases CO2 storage capacity, and reduce CO2 emissions associated with the long-distance transport of food. This would contribute to lessening the burdens on other countries' farmland use and use of water resources.

Past related article:
> Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate drops to record-low 37.17% [August 26, 2021]

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