Sunday, January 15, 2012

Law against the obesity??

Came across this bizarre coverage of "how Japanese government forces their citizens to do things". Although old, this video is stereotype one sided coverage given for Japan in western media.

Even though the title of this video is sarcastic, the tone of the reporter (who is not even Japanese herself) is that the Japan government has made waistline measure a legal limit and blah blah blah....

I understand that general impression is that Japanese are very slim and women are even slimmer. But let's not take away the credit to the efforts they put into being healthy and fit. I have worked in Japanese companies for quite long to understand that these medical checks are nothing but routine checks under superb national medical care system. Now this report may talk about NEC and it's employee health care system but NEC is not Japan. Also, there are some benefits that a company gets if it's employees are in-general fit and not having any diseases just because their lifestyles are not healthy. But I see not harm in it.

Being slim is certainly not discussed in government here but it is indeed a social requirement. In this diligent society, being obese is seen as a sign of irresponsibility (which in my personal opinion is right except if you have any health conditions) and laziness. Although, not everybody in Japan thinks in so much details but in a tightly knit and coherent society like Japanese, its hard to justify the company (or society) to foot the bill for your high BP and cholesterol by not having control over what you eat, not exercising or drinking too much. It is as obvious for a Japanese society to expect slim people around as it is for western to expect obese people. (Some people may find this as offensive but even slightly obese people REALLY turn heads in Japan)

Comparatively, men tend live unhealthy lifestyle anywhere in the world but looking slim and beautiful is a routine for many Japanese women. It is so much woven into their daily lives that it has formed a marketing key-word in Japanese: 女磨き (Onna Migaki).

Besides all these social factors against obesity, Japanese diet is one of among the best balanced diet with thousands of years of history behind it as compared to meat centric diet of the west.

I brand this type of reporting, conveniently ignoring all other factors to put across one narrow vision as gap-filling reports. When you actually don't have any significant stories to fill in your on-air time or newspaper pages, you fill those gap with such a low quality reporting.

Unfortunately I have seen this kind of reporting in many western countries lately. Serious issues like Fukushima-crisis were also given one-sided coverage, giving rise to countless rumors. Hope that readers are wise enough to check multiple sources and don't rush in forming opinion.