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Highlighting JAPAN

November 2014



ASEM 10 Summit Meeting
JAPAN-GEORGIA Summit Meeting
Banquet to Welcome Their Majesties the King and Queen of the NETHERLANDS



Helping Japan's Citizens Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Japanese enjoy one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world. The proportion of elderly in Japan's population, therefore, is on the rise. To keep older citizens in good health in a progressively aging society, healthcare reforms incorporated in the 2014 revision of the Japan Revitalization Strategy aim to extend "healthy life expectancy," meaning the period a person can live independently without needing assistance to get through the day. We spoke with Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa - an adjunct professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and a former science advisor to the cabinet of Japan (2006-08) - about policies and concrete efforts to promote health and disease prevention while extending the healthy life expectancy of Japan's people.

What is Japan Doing About Metabolic Syndrome?

Lifestyle- related diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes can be relatively mild by itself, but when they occur together the danger of precipitating a stroke or myocardial infarction escalates. Although the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (visceral fat syndrome) - a precursor to full-blown lifestyle-related diseases - is lower in Japan than in many other countries, it is still rising here.

Universal Health Coverage
Ensuring that Everyone Has Access to Healthcare

Placing high priority on global health issues in its foreign policy, Japan set out its Strategy on Global Health Diplomacy in 2013, pledging to use its expertise to help solve world health problems. The strategy's centerpiece is universal health coverage (UHC) - which is to ensure that all people can obtain essential health services when they need them and at an affordable cost.

Key to a Long Life
Japanese Cuisine Featuring Soy, Fish, Rice and Vegetables

Japan is often said to have the world's longest life expectancy, because Japanese cuisine is so healthy, but what elements of the Japanese diet in particular contribute to a long life? According to Yukio Yamori, a medical Ph.D. who specializes in research on how diet increases longevity, the answer is Japanese cuisine's combination of soy, vegetables, fish and rice, which uses less salt and frequently features soup stock.

One Secret of Japanese Longevity
A Hot Bath

Mostly no other people on Earth are as dedicated to soaking in hot water as the Japanese, who traditionally wash up outside the bath before they do so. Masaharu Maeda, a professor of rehabilitation studies at International University of Health and Welfare Graduate School, believes this bathing culture - from the humble home bath to extensive onsen (hot springs) resorts - is one of the secrets to Japanese longevity.

Green Step
Pursuing Health and History on the Kumano Kodo

Mountainous Kii Peninsula in western Japan is home to a historic network of trails known as the Kumano Kodo. For over a thousand years, Japanese from all levels of society had walked these routes as part of a pilgrimage to various shrines and temples in the peninsula's southern Kumano area, part of Wakayama Prefecture.

Building Healthier Cities through Technology and Community

Tsukuba Wellness Research (TWR) is using information technology and data analytics to create healthier cities by getting citizens into customized personal training programs. A venture company founded by Prof. Shinya Kuno of Tsukuba University, in association with the university, TWR's avowed mission is to "make Japan healthy and active."

An Appealing Therapeutic Robot for Eldercare

As their populations get older and children become fewer in number, the rising cost of health care is a problem that every advanced countries share. One solution - at least for people in places where real pets are not allowed - comes in the form of an intelligent therapeutic robot named PARO. Resembling a baby harp seal, PARO has gained attention both inside and outside Japan. Takanori Shibata - the chief senior researcher in the Human Technology Research Institute at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and PARO's creator - describes why.

Healthy Cycle
A Leg-Powered Wheelchair from Japan Is Motivating the Disabled

Based in Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture, TESS Co., Ltd. is a venture business that sells Profhand, a "pedal wheelchair" incorporating what is known as neuromodulation technology. CEO Kenji Suzuki established TESS in 2008 after obtaining the license for Profhand from its inventors, Yasunobu Handa, a visiting professor at Tohoku University, and his colleagues.


The Tale of the Straw Millionaire

Pooling Knowledge
Devising Next-Generation Technologies to Detect Diseases Affecting Aquaculture

Grand Design

Reiko Abe Takes The Power of Japanese Civil Engineering Abroad


A Legacy of Silver and The Sea


A Uplifting Experience in The Land of Mount Fuji