Over the last three decades total cholesterol has risen in japan but Heart disease has dropped. The linked report suggests that the reason for this may be their higher than average HDL and healthy Total to HDL ratios. The other interesting aspect of the report was the differences logged in Dietary intake between the Japanese, American and Australian subjects monitored. The main differences were
Fats significantly lower in Japanese
Fish and sea food much higher in Japanese
Eggs much higher in Japanese
Tofu and related products much higher in Japanese
Mushrooms much higher in Japanese
Fruits higher in Japanese
were pretty much the same across the three countries.