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Japanese editorial excerpts+
[March 12, 2006]

Japanese editorial excerpts+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, March 13_(Kyodo) _ Selected editorial excerpts from the Japanese press:

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING HABITS (The Daily Yomiuri as translated from the Yomiuri Shimbun)

The idea of shokuiku -- learning about nutrition -- may be unappetizing to many, but the notion should provide some food for thought.

The government has drafted a basic plan to promote education on food and nutrition as part of a five-year plan based on the basic law concerning food education enacted last year.

Japanese were generally considered to have attained an ideal nutritional balance in 1980, though in recent years the Japanese diet has contained too much fat. Accordingly, the incidence of obesity and chronic lifestyle diseases is on the rise.

We must pay more attention to the food we eat. It may be a good idea for the government to encourage people to be more aware of the need to learn about food and nutrition, provided such urgings do not become obtrusive.

The draft plan sets a numerical target of bringing the ratio of people interested in food education from the present 70 percent to more than 90 percent in five years.

The proposed plan also calls for increasing the number of food and nutrition teachers, promoting consumption of agricultural and fishery products in the areas they are produced, and promoting the reuse of food waste.

The draft plan also sounds the alarm over the rising number of people who do not eat breakfast -- 4 percent of primary school children, 30 percent of males in their 20s and 23 percent of males in their 30s.

The draft sets a target of bringing down these figures to zero among primary school children and to less than 15 percent among males in their 20s and 30s by fiscal 2010.

The inclusion of local dishes in school lunch programs is also encouraged. The inclusion of such dishes in school lunches will help children learn about their own region.

Nonetheless, such developments as local food suppliers and school administrators forming cosy ties by giving too much priority to locally produced food must be avoided.

Lately, more and more people eat out too often or rely too much on pre-cooked food available at supermarkets.

The plan calls for food-related businesses to offer a healthier balance of food products and dishes. We hope such businesses improve their displays of ingredients used in their products and dishes to guide people in their choices, as long as such efforts do not lead to higher prices. (March 13)

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