The sight of men sucking in their bellies to hide expanding waistlines just got a lot more serious in Japan, where the government has introduced mandatory "fat checks" for the over-40s.
Aimed at trimming bulging annual health costs
of more than $3bn, the Health Ministry says from next month 56 million people must start keeping waistlines tucked in or be asked to change diet, see a doctor and possibly pay higher insurance costs.
But critics say the plan for the potbelly
police, which sets a waist limit of 85cm (34in) for men and 90cm for women, will do more harm than good. It's a comedy, Professor Yoichi Ogushi told The Japan Times. If you follow the government's logic, you can do whatever you want as long as
you have a slim waist.
The fight-the-flab campaign has already claimed at least one victim. Last year, a 74-year-old local government official in rural Mie Prefecture collapsed while jogging in an effort to cut his 100cm waist. He was in the
government's weight-loss programme.
We have to bring medical costs down, said Toshi-yuki Sato, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, who denied the plan would encourage crash-dieting and pill-popping. Dieting badly
will eventually cause medical costs to rise even more, so we hope the metabolic tests will be properly supervised.
There's gotta be a better way to get it into 34inches
In 2005, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare pronounced that roughly one middle-aged person in two was at risk for so-called "metabolic syndrome" -- caused by smoking, drinking, eating and other excesses combined with a sedentary
lifestyle -- that raised the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes.
The ministry's policy now obliges people between the ages of 40 to 74 to take medical examinations to check for excessive internal fat, high blood pressure
and high blood-sugar levels, and to receive health advisories when warranted.
It was bound to happen. The middle-aged spread has given rise to a completely new type of sex business: the "Datsu-metabo fuuzoku" -- sex shops with services
designed to help pudgy, middle-aged men bang their way back to health and enjoy themselves in the bargain.
Asahi Geino identifies five such shops with special health sessions on their menus, three in Tokyo and two in Osaka. Their names, telephone
numbers, prices and the details of their services, starting from as little as 8,000 yen, are included.
We have designed our play sessions to provide beneficial effects, not only on blood sugar levels and triglycerides, but on your gamma GPT as
well, according to the lovely Ms. Kazuki, age 23, who works at a massage shop in Tokyo's Sugamo district called Mania Space .
Asahi Geino's reporter gives it a try. After disrobing he lies facing down on the massage table. Powdering
his back and lower torso, she then suddenly slips a finger into his anus.
The intrusive digit is followed by a larger object that turns out to be a battery-powered vibrator. Despite himself, the stimulation to our reporter's prostate causes him
to develop a whopper of an erection.
She then grasps his erection and coaxes out a few drops of discharge. This was just the preamble, however, and after oiling up his shaft with lotion she artfully manipulates his scrotum -- while the vibrator
in his anus continues to hum -- giving him the mother of all erections.
She then squats over his face and, leaning forward over him, tickles his body with her nipples and sets to work with her hands until he feels the urge to spring a gusher. But
she slacks off at the last second and repeats this process -- of sensual stimulation halting just before the point of orgasm -- until he begs for release.
What is this supposed to be good for, anyway? he pants to Kazuki.
don't do it long enough you won't get the full benefits of aerobic exercise, she advises him: If you can hang on for a full hour, you can lose 3 centimeters off your tummy.