To examine whether intensive glycemic control could decrease the frequency or severity of diabetic microvascular complications, we performed a prospective study of Japanese patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) treated with multiple insulin injection treatment. A total of 110 patients with NIDDM was randomly assigned to multiple insulin injection treatment group (MIT group) or to conventional insulin injection treatment group (CIT group). Fifty-five NIDDM patients who showed no retinopathy and urinary albumin excretions < 30 mg/24 h at the baseline were evaluated in the primary-prevention cohort, and the other 55 NIDDM patients who showed simple retinopathy and urinary albumin excretions < 300 mg/24 h were evaluated in the secondary-intervention cohort. The appearance and the progression of retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy were evaluated every 6 months over a 6-year period. The worsening of complications in this study was defined as an increase of 2 or more steps in the 19 stages of the modified ETDRS interim scale for retinopathy and an increase of one or more steps in 3 stages (normoalbuminuria, microalbuminuria and albuminuria) for nephropathy. The cumulative percentages of the development and the progression in retinopathy after 6 years were 7.7% for the MIT group and 32.0% for the CIT group in the primary-prevention cohort (P = 0.039), and 19.2% for MIT group and 44.0% for CIT group in the secondary-intervention cohort (P = 0.049). The cumulative percentages of the development and the progression in nephropathy after 6 years were 7.7% for the MIT group and 28.0% for the CIT group in the primary-prevention cohort (P = 0.032), and 11.5% and 32.0%, respectively, for the MIT and CIT groups in the secondary-intervention cohort (P = 0.044). In neurological tests after 6 years, MIT group showed significant improvement in the nerve conduction velocities, while the CIT group showed significant deterioration in the median nerve conduction velocities and vibration threshold. Although both postural hypotension and the coefficient of variation of R-R interval tended to improve in the MIT group, they deteriorated in the CIT group. In conclusion, intensive glycemic control by multiple insulin injection therapy can delay the onset and the progression of diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy in Japanese patients with NIDDM. From this study, the glycemic threshold to prevent the onset and the progression of diabetic microangiopathy is indicated as follows; HbA1c < 6.5%, FBG < 110 mg/dl, and 2-h post-prandial blood glucose concentration < 180 mg/dl.