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Published on 04.28.2016
‘The law’ that Victor and Mully are talking about in this video is known as ‘metabo law’, named after ‘metabolic syndrome’ which is Japan’s official name for obesity. The law became effective in April 2008 and even major international news sensationalised the new regulation as ‘being fat is now illegal in Japan’, however in reality no one will be punished because of their weight.
The fact is the new law introduced the visceral fat specific health check, which is carried out by measuring waistline and checking BMI (body mass index, calculated by height and weight), and if someone is over the guideline, they have to attend a counselling session.
Under the Japanese health service system, companies have to provide the health checks of their employees, so the measurements are carried out at workplaces. In my opinion, that is the cause of the myth that ‘fat people can’t get a job in Japan’.
If a company is not able to reduce the numbers of employees who are over the guideline, the company have to pay more towards the governmental health premium, however no individual will be punished.
How strict is the new regulation?
The new regulation added a new waist measurement requirement to the already existing annual check-ups required of all 40-74 year olds by local governments and employers. If you think the health risk guidelines in Japan are much stricter than other countries, you are wrong.
Let’s compare the guidelines between Japan and the UK. Japanese men are sent to a counselling session if their waistline is over 85cm whereas British men are advised to lose weight at 94cm. For women, the Japanese waistline limit is 90cm and the British is 80cm. Regarding BMI, the Japanese guideline is 25 whereas the British are considered at an increased risk at 23.
Are tattoos problematic?
The answer is YES. Tattoos have a negative image as in the Japanese Yakuza mafia, members often have one. Until the Edo period, criminals were tattooed to prevent hiding their identity. In recent years, more young people think tattoos are cool and actually have one, however they are still considered taboo by mass society.
Japanese people understand that tattoos are more like fashion in foreign countries, however it’s wise to hide yours at job interviews.