School lunches keep Japan's kids topping nutrition lists
Japan Today -- Oct 16
Japan manages a rare feat for a developed country when it comes to feeding its children -- high scores for nutrition but very low obesity rates. One major key? School lunches.

A landmark report by the U.N.'s children agency UNICEF released Tuesday shows Japan topping the charts for childhood health indicators, with low rates of infant mortality and few underweight children.

But it also manages the lowest incidence of childhood obesity among the 41 developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and European Union.

Experts say there are various factors at work, including a health-conscious society and regularly mandated check-ups for children, but a nationwide school lunch program also plays a key role.

"School lunches with menus that are created by nutritionists are provided to all primary schools and the majority of junior high schools throughout Japan," Mitsuhiko Hara, a pediatrician and professor at Tokyo Kasei Gakuin University, told AFP.

The lunches are mandatory -- no packed lunches allowed -- and while they are not free for most, they are heavily subsidised.

Each meal is designed to have around 600-700 calories balanced between carbohydrates, meat or fish and vegetables.

One sample meal served to children in Japan's Gunma gives a flavor: rice with grilled fish and a spinach and sprout dish, served with miso soup with pork, alongside milk and dry prunes.

News source: Japan Today
Jul 09
About a third of parents in Japan postponed vaccinating their children during the coronavirus pandemic amid fears of catching an infection, a survey by a nonprofit organization showed Monday. (Japan Today)
Jul 08
In a move that will affect Japanese studying in the U.S., the government there said Monday that international students attending American universities will have to depart the country or transition to another college if their classes are moved entirely online for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Jul 05
Major Japanese wireless carriers recently launched a service to provide foreign tourists with disaster relief information via mobile phone short message service in the event of an earthquake or typhoon. (Kyodo)
Jul 04
Single mothers and women with less secure jobs in Japan have seen their employment opportunities upended as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. (Japan Today)
Jul 03
More than 3,400 elementary and junior high school students and teachers have contracted food poisoning at 15 schools near Tokyo due to school lunches, local authorities said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Jul 02
The Japanese government compiled Wednesday a package of policy measures to promote women's empowerment, including a possible law revision to address cases of unpaid child support payments after divorce. (Japan Times)
Jul 02
A day after China passed and enacted a new national security law to govern Hong Kong, Japanese lawmakers kicked off official discussions over ways to welcome financial talent that may be contemplating leaving the international financial hub. (Nikkei)
Jul 02
Immigration authorities have resumed processing of visa applications, in a move expected to speed up entry clearance for foreign nationals with applications stuck in pending. (Japan Times)
Jun 30
Two universities in Osaka Prefecture evacuated their campuses on Monday after a bomb threat was made criticizing the English name of their planned new merged school, the operator of the schools said. (Kyodo)
Jun 28
Japan has produced its first ninja studies graduate after Genichi Mitsuhashi spent two years honing his martial arts skills and absorbing the finer traditions of the feudal martial arts agents. (Japan Times)