All Japanese stores to charge shoppers for plastic bags from July 1

By  Gogo
2020/06/28 14:55

Today's Vocabulary

1. retail  (n.) 
the activity of selling goods to the public, usually in shops

2. accelerate (v.)  
to happen or make something happen sooner or faster

3. utilize (v.)  
to use something in an effective way

4. nationwide (adj.)  
existing or happening in all parts of a particular country

5. mandatory (adj.)  
Something that is mandatory must be done or is demanded by law.

6. consume (v.)  
to use fuel, energy, or time, especially in large amounts

7. tackle (v.)  
to try to deal with something or someone

8. roll out (phr.)  
to make a new product, service, or system available for the first time

All Japanese stores to charge shoppers for plastic bags from July 1

All retail stores across Japan, including convenience stores and supermarkets, will be required to charge shoppers for plastic bags from July 1, as a measure to protect the environment.

But plastic shopping bags account for only around 2 percent of all plastic waste produced in the country. While the government hopes that the introduction of the fees will encourage consumers to change their habits, the challenge will be accelerating the reduction in the amount of overall plastic waste by utilizing the launch of the fees as a catalyst.

Under related government guidelines, stores are being asked to charge customers at least ¥1 for each bag.

The introduction of the nationwide mandatory fee system comes at a time when marine plastic waste is becoming a serious global issue. Many areas around the world have seen fish and birds consume plastic waste by mistake or such refuse destroy the coastal landscape.

As its first step toward leading the world in taking action to tackle marine plastic waste, the government decided to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags in the country.

The effect of the shopping bag fees on reducing the amount of waste will be limited as there are many other plastic items in society.

“We will roll out plastic shopping bag fees in the hope of making people aware of the global issue,” Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said.


1. Why we should charge for plastic bags?

2. Why plastic bags are bad for the environment?

3. What are the negative effects of plastic bags?

4. Does your country charge the plastic bag fee?

5. Do bans on plastic grocery bags save cities money?

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”

Annie Leonard, Proponent of Sustainability

"If you're not buying recycled products, you're not really recycling."

Ed Begley, Jr.