There is hunger in Japan, know the food insecurity in the country

Yes, there is famine in Japan and this is a fact that may surprise many people. After all, we are used to hearing and reading that people go hungry in developing countries, but not in so-called first world nations.

Obviously, as you may be imagining, this is not a very high number, like what happens in some countries located on the African and American continent.


Learn more about food insecurity in the country here, which involves both hunger and food waste.

Poverty and hunger in Japan


Although Japan has the world’s third largest economy, it is accompanied by a 15% poverty rate. Hunger affects about 2.5% of the country’s population according to the website Macro Trends.

In terms of poverty, this percentage means that 18,969,960 people in Japan are living below the poverty line. The main causes of food insecurity in Japan include unemployment and disability, but there are also other factors, as we will see later.

In addition, this food crisis has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. As job losses mount due to the pandemic, demand for food donations has soared in Japan, prompting the government to release stored rice to charities for the first time in May 2020.


During the pandemic there were also many foreigners who ended up being left to their own devices. And this caused them to end up starving and in need of donations. It is worth mentioning that there are also associations of Brazilians in Japan who made donations to families who needed help during the pandemic.

Certainly these measures make a lot of difference for many people and it is important that they continue.

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Food waste and hunger in Japan

Among the other factors that make Japan have people going hungry is the problem of food wastage in some areas and lack of access to food in others. For example, in New York City alone, there are over 1,000 locations that provide food and services to those who cannot afford to eat. Japan, on the other hand, only has 50 locations across the country that offer free food services.


Food waste is very high in Japan, with rice being the most wasted. This food could be used to help many families that are in a state of food insecurity in the country.

In 2000, the Second Harvest Japan project was started by volunteers. Its aim was to establish the first food safety net in Japan. They have created food pantry systems that visit restaurants and stores to pick up leftover food that is past its sell-by date but still edible. The food is then distributed to the pantries through the SHJ project.

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