Businesses rush in with health systems for ageing Japan

Middle-aged and older people have declared war on metabolic syndrome and businesses are rushing to offer products and services for them.

In April 2008, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare launched a special medical checkup program to check metabolic syndrome, which can include symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.Rice

At the Ginza Gen sushi restaurant in central Tokyo, a kind of rice made by mixing in konnyaku jelly “grains” is popular for its low calorie count. The Ginza Gen sushi restaurant in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district has introduced this spring new sushi dishes using rice mixed with rice grain-shaped konnyaku, a jelly-like low-calorie foodstuff also known as devil’s tongue made from the konjak root. A piece of sushi made using the konnyaku rice mix contains about 25% fewer calories than one made of 100% “real” rice. The new sushi dishes are offered as part of the course menus for lunch and dinner, but customers can also place orders over the counter.


Descente Ltd. has released the XaviX+D3 kit, which is designed to help people engage in a self-exercise program, measuring the daily amount of exercise with a mobile terminal and managing the data on a dedicated device that can hooked up to a standard TV. The sporting goods maker earlier this month launched full-scale marketing of the 24,800 yen kit, setting a high sales target of 10,000 kits in the first year.

Tomy ARTSIn April 2008, Takara Tomy-A.R.T.S released released a novelty product that shows on a liquid-crystal display screen where the number of steps a user has taken brings him, on a virtual walk around Japan.Although he’s actually just walking around his own neighborhood with his dog, the screen shows sightseeing spots and the local specialties. The around-Japan trip pedometer had sold about 110,000 units by the end of March 2009.

Tanita Health Link is a health management program encourages energetic walking by awarding points according to the number of steps taken, which can be turned into electronic money. 10 yen worth of points for at least 70,000 steps a week. Membership in the program, which charges from 900 yen a month, including the usage fee of a body fat scale and other dedicated devices, doubled year on year to about 50,000 people at the end of March 2009.

NEC Corp. plans to start a health guidance system for its employees using the health management software for Nintendo Co.’s Wii game console.

Again proving Japan’s advanced ageing society is providing them strong motivation to develop unique products to service this market.