Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.
Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.
To reach its goals of shrinking the overweight population by 10 percent over the next four years and 25 percent over the next seven years, the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet specific targets. The country’s Ministry of Health argues that the campaign will keep the spread of diseases like diabetes and strokes in check.
So what can be done to take knives off the street? Police stop-and-search operations use portable knife arches and hand-held wands. Powers to screen and search pupils without consent were introduced last year.
Gordon Brown has signaled a zero-tolerance approach to knives, announcing last week that teenagers as young as 16 years old would face prosecution just for carrying a blade.
But tougher penalties are only part of the solution, experts say. Dr. Dasan wants to see more youth education on how lethal a blade can be. Britain's grim new ad campaign is a start.
Another medical expert, Dr. Mike Beckett, argues that it is time to remove sharp knives from kitchens altogether
[emphasis mine - RK]