That’s a whole course! Maybe for my wedding party I should volunteer 1/5 of my wedding meals to get sent to North Korea.
Other stats from this Shukan Toyo Keizai article:
Average cost of a wedding: more than 3 million yen (US$25,000) in 2006. The cost of weddings has been rising since 2003, when the Japanese economy started turning around. (Source: wedding planning site Zexy.net)
Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) researched how much food is left uneated at wedding parties (披露宴 routinely make up 3/4 of the cost of an entire wedding) by surveying 40 wedding halls nationwide. The figure of 22.5% (19.2% when you exclude drinks) is light-years away from the amount of food left uneaten at home (1.1% according to a 2005 survey) or in restaurants (3.1% as of 2006). And it’s a high percentage even compared to food at regular banquet-style parties (宴会) that offer alcohol, 15.2% of which goes to waste.
Perhaps that has something to do with the sheer amount of food served at wedding parties, which is averages an enormous 2230g — almost four times the average 600g served at cafeterias and restaurants. That means people who simply can’t finish more than what they usually eat in an entire day are wasting an entire meal’s worth of food, or 500g.
Why so much food? The STK conjectures that since people want to give their guests the best possible service, it’s either become a tradition or people are trying to be ostentatious by offering more food than necessary. But as someone planning a wedding party myself, I think the most obvious explanation is that the event halls need to justify charging 10,000 yen per plate plus open bar charges.