10The Land Of The Sumo Hates On Fat People
If you ask Westerners to think about something that is synonymous with Japan, they probably come up with the same assortment of images: smiling, unflinchingly polite people, sushi, manga cartoons and the excellent rock band, Tricot. More than any other, the first thing that will come to mind is a
huge, overweight gentleman in a nappy. However, the land of the sumo wrestler doesn't stop at merely discouraging their citizens to put on weight - they have actually made it illegal to do so.
A law passed in 2008, called the metabo law, actually made it illegal for citizens aged between 40 to 75 - accounting for 44% of the population - to let their waistbands expand beyond a certain limit. This is set at 33.5-35.4 inches (85-90 cm) for both men and women. Failure to comply sees the individual attending mandatory counselling sessions and, scarily, face motoring through their emails and phone correspondence.
The law was part of a programme aimed at reducing health problems in an ageing population. Employers have to sign up to enforce the law, too. Companies who fail to meet targets regarding the percentage of overweight employees are fined up to 10% of their current health payments. Though there is doubt as to the effectiveness of the law, it should be noted that Japan's current obesity population stands at 3% - the lowest amongst developed countries.