Japan

Salt Action Summary

September 2008

Following an interview with WASH Chairman Professor MacGregor, an article was published in August 2008 in Japan’s leading newspaper ‘The Asahi Shimbun’ raising awareness of the dangers of salt.  The article referred to the recent successes of the UK’s salt reduction strategy.

In Japan, salt intake of population has increased from 10.7g to 11g per a day in the latest data for the first time in ten years. Experts warn that the Japanese are becoming the most ‘salt-friendly’ people in the world and point out it is imperative to involve the food industry to reduce salt intake.

The Japanese Hypertension Society (JHS) are very active in Japan in trying to lower population salt intake. The JHS have a working group with the aim of reducing population salt intake. They have been engaged in the following activities:

  • New guidelines from JHS, published in the new edition of JHS Guideline for Hypertension Treatment, have resulted in the recommended daily allowance of salt intake being reduced from 7 g/day to 6 g/day.
  • Presently, in Japan it is not mandatory to label the nutritional content of food products. JHS approached the department of food control in the Ministry of Health and Welfare and pushed them to make it a legal requirement to declare the salt content of food products. However, the Ministry of Health have replied that at present they are unable to make it a legal obligation for food companies to label the salt content of products. They have assured that they will encourage food companies to voluntarily list the salt content of their products.
  • JHS are writing a number of booklets that will be published at the end of 2006, including: "How to measure salt intake in clinic", "What is the rationale behind recommending hypertensive patients to reduce their salt intake?", and "Cooking booklet to maintain 6g salt per day".