Here is an article from the International Herald Tribune which is pretty much right on the money from my experience. Starting last year, waist measurements became a part of annual physical examinations in Japan and all the people in my company received pedometers to encourage walking and exercise.
Many companies will face a penalty from the government if their workers do not on average make improvements, but for food and pharmaceutical companies this is also an opportunity to boost sales for products which help fight metabolic syndrome. Such products have been on the market for years now, but this new government policy is definitely giving the whole category a boost.
Only a few years ago, one would never hear the term metabolic syndrome except in scientific conversations, but these days it is a very common topic of everyday conversation.
Actually, I have read some unpublished reports on the development of definitions and standards for metabolic syndrome which are very interesting, but that is a topic for another day.