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The Mainichi Japan’s National Daily Since 1922
(Mainichi Japan)
Japanese version
TOKYO — The government of the suburban Tokyo city of Hachioji will introduce a service in October allowing consumers to purchase food items that are close to their expiration dates at low prices from businesses in an effort to reduce food waste.
Registered business operators using the service “Tabesuke Hachioji” can list unsold food items on a website for customers to buy. Hachioji will be the first municipality in Tokyo to introduce such a system.
Tabesuke is an online site for local governments operated by a Kyoto Prefecture-based company. To use the system, businesses such as restaurants, retailers and food manufacturing companies in Hachioji must first register on the site as “cooperating stores.” They then can list food items with an approaching best-by or expiration date, or ones that do not fit specific standards for sale, at low prices. The city will bear the cost for business operators to register and put up their products for sale.
Customers can register as users and make reservations to buy food via the site, pay at the store and pick up their purchases. The list of products is accompanied by information on the supplier, store address, cost of the items, the deadline for collecting them, and the amount of food waste reduction. Products that can be purchased in the users’ vicinity or around the nearest train station will also be displayed.
This service has already been introduced in places such as the Hyogo Prefecture city of Himeji and the Yamanashi Prefecture city of Kofu. According to Himeji, the first city to implement the program, the service was used 6,711 times between its launch in March 2021 and the end of July this year. This reduced potential food waste by 9 metric tons.
In Hachioji, there is a network that registers stores that help reduce food waste, which are known as “clean plate support shops.” The city is calling on the 210 listed stores to register on Tabesuke.
The city’s waste reduction countermeasures department head Tomoaki Nara explained, “Consumers can obtain food at low prices, and contribute to society through food waste reduction. Business operators can also increase profits and promote themselves.” He added, “The city can also reduce the amount of edible food going to waste.”
(Japanese original by Megumi Nokura, Hachioji Bureau)
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