In Japan, it is Illegal to be Fat – Facts Analysis

Picture Suggesting In Japan, it is Illegal to be Fat
In Japan, it is Illegal to be Fat


Ban on Obesity:
In Japan, being fat is illegal. Japanese legislators introduced this law in 2009, where they specified the maximum waist size. In men, older than 40 years the waist should not exceed 80 cm, in women 90 cm.


The message claims that it is illegal to be fat in Japan, that the Japanese legislators have introduced this law in 2009, specifying the maximum waist size for men and women older than 40 years. The message is a mixture of hoax and facts as discussed below.

About the Japan’s ‘Metabo’ Law

In 2008 (not 2009 as mentioned in the message), Japanese parliament approved a law saying that it is illegal to be fat in Japan, and this was declared as a war against obesity and also to cut down the government health costs of old age citizens. The Japanese government addressed the growing concern of Metabolic syndrome among its citizens, known here as “metabo”, which is a combination of health risks including stomach flab, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This “metabo law” of Japan was aimed to save money by reducing health risks related to obesity, especially in old age people. Japan started this ambitious campaign of slimming down its citizens by measuring their waistlines.

According to the metabo law, the companies and local governments should measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the age group of 40 to 74, as a part of their annual checkups. To keep a check on obesity and related problems, the law set up a threshold for waistline – 33.5 inches (85 cm) for men and 35.4 inches (90 cm) for women, which is similar to what the International Diabetes Federation set up for Japan in 2005. People exceeding these government limits and having a weight-related problems were given dieting guidance and necessary education. The Japanese government set up targets to decrease their overweight population, and also planned to impose financial penalties on companies and local governments which fail to meet the specified targets.

In a related news report of CNN shown in the video, Japanese company NEC is facing 19 million dollars penalty if its employees are not slimming down. The company is shown to cater low-calorie diet to its employees, pumping out exercise music twice a day, encouraging them to take stairs and then exercise very often.


Yes, it is a fact that there is this ‘Metabo’ law in Japan which makes it illegal for the citizens to be obese. Surprisingly, the Japanese, along with the Koreans are the least fat people in the world – according to the World Health Organization. Although Obesity is not a serious problem in Japan, the government sought to such a law to protect the health of its citizens and to cut down their health care costs.

Obesity and its related issues are a growing concern in many modern countries, so they can learn something from this Obesity law of Japan. And as shown in the video, the calorie-conscious diet served at the canteen and the exercise routine at work place is not a bad idea at all!

Hoax or Fact:

Mixture of Hoax and Facts.

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Japan, Seeking Trim Waists, Measures Millions
Japan’s Anti-Obesity Legislation – Metabo Law (pg 264)

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Prashanth Damarla