Japan’s battle of the bulge

The food nazis sometimes mention the idea of a “fat tax” to penalise people who like to eat the “wrong” food. Japan has taken the idea one step further.

The Japanese government now requires all citizens over the age of 40 to have their waists measured every year… and if the waist is more than 33.5 inches (man) or 25.5 inches (women) they are referred to couseling and close monitoring. Any company that fails to slim down their workforce will face penalties.

The sad thing is that these measures will probably be supported by the wowser-brigade… and the wowsers seem to be winning the political argument in Australia. They have already marginalised smokers as a pariah group on the fringe of polite society and are now attacking the “three-beer-binge” drinkers, with new recomendations to increase the drinking age to 21, lower alcohol content in drinks and make it harder to buy alcohol.

One of the most disappointing trends in Australia (and the developed world more generally) is the trend towards paternalism in everyday life. We are steadily moving towards a society where everybody is “free” to do exactly what they are told by the Department of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the lifestyle police.

14 thoughts on “Japan’s battle of the bulge

  1. LIVE FREE OR DIEt!
    So that’s why the Japanese Govmint is called the Diet! I’d always wondered….

  2. I’ve been to Japan twice in the last year, and I’m not prone to generalisations, but I can flat out say that Japanese people don’t have weight problems.

    Seriously, there are so few overweight people, its extremely rare. Its so rare that its noticeable.

  3. How much of this is a response to state funded healthcare, I wonder?

    And what Jono said. I’ve had a great deal to do with Japanese people (and Japan) over the years through karate, and I don’t think I’ve met a fat one yet – even Japanese ‘lounge lizards’ aren’t fat!

  4. This can’t be true. What of Sumo? It is a big business and the national sport alongside baseball.

    The wowsers make me feel like setting up a liquor cottage industry.

  5. if people wanna let them selves get fat, that’s their choice.
    just don’t force the rest of us to pay for you. eg, with flying. you pay for your luggage, why not pay for your total weight. bags + ass = bill

    and health care. (welfare argument aside) if you get $X fat, then you don’t get healthcare paid for with tax dollars on issues that are caused by weight. eg, heart

  6. Well if you are arguing for fat people being excluded then what is stopping them from excluding you if you have more than 3 beers a week or dont jog every day or smoke or do martial arts or bungee jumping or eat too much meat and any other thing that could possibly be bad for you.

    Not all fat people die from heart attacks you know.

  7. Drive across the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 60km/hr and you’ll be the slowest one on it.

    We are surrounded by unenforceable laws. Lifestyle laws will simply join them.

  8. People who are slightly (bear in mind I said slightly) overweight live longer than people who are underweight. I read this somewhere, will try and google. It’s basically because the underweight are wimps who tend to have weaker immune systems and get more respiratory and other disorders that kill them faster than the things that kill the slightly overweight. You can be a bit on the chubby and side and still fit.

  9. This is what happens when governments take increasing control of health care.
    I think it’s quite scary actually.

  10. Jason how is overweight defined if slightly overweight means that you live longer? Surely in deciding the optimum weight lifespan must be amoung the primary criteria.

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