On May 31, 2023, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced the basic policy of the third term of the “National Health Promotion Campaign in the 21st Century (Healthy Japan 21),” in which Professor Naoki Kondo has been involved as a national council member.
It emphasizes the importance of “social environment improvement (or tackling social determinants of health)” and “creating an environment where people can be healthy naturally (that is, without strong individual health awareness and efforts to continue a healthy lifestyle)” which we have been advocating through empirical research with many of our colleagues.
For example, on page 4: “Efforts will be made to implement initiatives aimed at creating an environment that fosters natural well-being, including promoting a healthy eating environment and encouraging physical activity and exercise, among a wide range of individuals, including those with less health consciousness.”
The explicitly stated “Life-course approach” is another feature that has never been seen in Japan’s health promotion plans so far, on page 5: “We will actively promote the life–course approach, which considers a person’s health throughout their entire lifespan, starting from the fetal period to old age. This approach will be implemented in coordination with other health promotion initiatives and plans.”