Japan wraps everything in plastic. Fruit and vegetables are individually and meticulously wrapped in sealed transparent plastic, placed in a paper bag, and then gently inserted into a plastic carrying bag. Every person in Japan uses around 300 or 400 plastic bags a year, or more than 40 billion for the entire nation. On a per capita basis, Japan consumes more plastic than the European Union average and China, but less than the United States, according to the United Nations Environment Program. In response to this profligate use of single-use plastics, the Japanese government is facing rising pressure internationally, as well as from the inside, from groups like Greenpeace Japan. The government says it wants to reduce plastic use by 25 percent by 2030, and Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada announced plans to force stores to charge for plastic bags. Public awareness of the problems associated with plastics is low in Japan, but it is growing as some newspapers call for an end to the “culture of disposability.” by 2050, there are predicted to be more plastics in the ocean than fish, and there is mounting evidence that plastics pose serious health risks to humans on a global scale. In response, many countries are moving towards outright bans of single-use plastics around the world. Will Japan follow suit? Only time will tell.