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What is the Japanese waist law?


The Japanese government implemented a law in 2008, known as the Japanese waist law, to tackle obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in the country. This law introduced guidelines for waist measurements, with the aim of reducing the risk of health problems associated with excess weight around the waist. In this article, we will delve into the details of the Japanese waist law and its significance in addressing the issue of obesity in Japan.


Japan has one of the world’s lowest obesity rates, but it has been steadily increasing over the years. The government identified the need to take action to prevent obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The Japanese waist law was introduced after research showed that excess abdominal fat is a significant risk factor for these diseases.

Japanese Snack Box

The guidelines

The guidelines set by the Japanese waist law state that men should have a waist measurement of less than 85 centimeters (33.5 inches), while women should have a waist measurement of less than 90 centimeters (35.4 inches). Anyone exceeding these measurements is categorized as overweight and at risk of obesity-related diseases.


The Japanese waist law is implemented through annual health checkups for individuals aged between 40 and 74 years old. These checkups include measuring height, weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and waist circumference. Results are recorded and shared with the individual’s doctor to determine if any lifestyle changes or medical interventions are necessary.


The Japanese waist law has been criticized by some who argue that it is too simplistic and does not take into account individual differences in body shape and muscle mass. Others argue that it places too much emphasis on weight and could lead to body shaming or discrimination against those who do not meet the guidelines.


Since the implementation of the Japanese waist law, there has been a decrease in the number of overweight individuals in Japan. The law has also raised awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, leading to an increase in exercise programs and healthier food options.

Comparison with other countries

Several countries have similar guidelines for waist measurements, including the United States, Australia, and Canada. However, these guidelines differ slightly from those set by the Japanese waist law. For instance, in the United States, men should have a waist measurement of less than 102 centimeters (40 inches), while women should have a measurement of less than 88 centimeters (35 inches).

Prevention measures

To prevent being categorized as overweight or obese under the Japanese waist law, individuals can take steps such as eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, reducing stress levels, getting enough sleep, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Medical interventions

For individuals who are categorized as overweight or obese under the Japanese waist law, medical interventions may be necessary. These interventions could include medication to manage conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes or surgeries such as gastric bypass surgery to aid weight loss.


Despite its successes, the implementation of the Japanese waist law has faced challenges such as inadequate resources for healthcare providers to manage an increasing number of individuals requiring medical interventions. The government continues to work towards addressing these challenges to ensure effective implementation of the law.


The Japanese waist law is an important step towards promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing obesity-related diseases in Japan. While it has faced criticisms and challenges, its impact on raising awareness about healthy weight management cannot be overlooked.

Future outlook

Moving forward, there is a need for continued efforts towards education and increasing access to resources for individuals to maintain a healthy weight. These initiatives will help build on the successes of the Japanese waist law and ensure better health outcomes for all individuals in Japan.

What are the waist requirements in Japan?

Japan has implemented a new law to combat obesity by requiring individuals with weight-related medical concerns to lose weight if their waist exceeds a strict size limit of 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women. This law aims to promote healthier lifestyles and combat the prevalence of obesity in the country.

Do citizens have their waist measured in Japan?

As of two months ago, a new law in Japan requires companies and local governments to annually measure the waistlines of Japanese individuals aged 40 to 74. This means that over 56 million waistlines, accounting for approximately 44% of the country’s population, will be measured.

What is the obesity policy in Japan?

The Metabo Law, introduced by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2008, mandates that individuals between the ages of 40 and 74 have their waist sizes measured every year. Men cannot exceed a waist circumference of 33.5 inches, while women cannot exceed 35.4 inches.

What is Japan 2008 Metabo law?

In 2008, Japan introduced the ‘metabo’ law that involved measuring waist circumference, as a response to the growing problem of obesity in the country.

Can you show your thighs in Japan?

Exposing your thighs or buttocks in public can result in a maximum jail sentence of 29 days. Despite the widespread presence of mini skirts worn by Japanese girls, it is considered illegal under the Light Crimes Act of 1948 to show these body parts in public.

Can you show your stomach in Japan?

When visiting temples and shrines, it is respectful to wear clothing that covers the arms and doesn’t reveal the stomach or cleavage. While this is not a strict rule, it is a good idea to follow these dress-code standards, although some Japanese locals may not always adhere to them.

One key aspect of the Japanese waist law is its emphasis on preventive measures. By encouraging individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles and maintain a healthy weight, the law can help reduce healthcare costs associated with obesity-related diseases. This is particularly important in Japan, where an aging population is putting increasing strain on the healthcare system.

Another benefit of the Japanese waist law is its potential to improve overall quality of life. By promoting healthy eating and exercise habits, individuals can experience improved physical and mental well-being. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity and a higher quality of life for individuals and their families.

However, it is important to note that the Japanese waist law is just one part of a larger effort to address obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in Japan. Other initiatives include school-based nutrition programs, workplace wellness programs, and public awareness campaigns. These efforts are all important components of a comprehensive approach to combating obesity.

In conclusion, while the Japanese waist law may have its limitations and challenges, it represents an important step towards promoting healthy weight management in Japan. By continuing to work towards education, access to resources, and preventive measures, Japan can build on the successes of the waist law and improve overall health outcomes for its population.

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