The daily intake of total dietary fiber (TDF) was evaluated from data of the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) in Japan for 41 years since 1947. An interrelationship between the nutrient intake, including TDF, and the mortality from colon cancer in Japanese people was calculated by a simple correlation coefficient and time-series correlation coefficient. TDF intake per capita decreased rapidly from 27.4 g in 1947 to 15.8 g in 1963, and subsequently decreased by a lesser rate to 15.3 g in 1987. Fat intake increased rapidly from 18.0 g in 1950 to 56.6 g in 1987. The age-adjusted mortality from colon cancer shows a significant positive correlation with both the intakes of animal protein and of total fat, and the fat energy ratio. A time-series analysis indicates that the mortality from colon cancer was negatively correlated with TDF with a 15-27 year delay, the maximum correlation existing with a 23-year lag (r = -0.947). The TDF intake was less than 17.9 g in 1965. At the same time, the mortality from colon cancer increased rapidly. A fat/TDF ratio above 3.0 resulted in a rapid increase in colon cancer mortality. The non-adjusted mortality from colon cancer has much the same interrelationship with TDF and fat intake as the adjusted figures. It is suggested that the cause of the increased mortality from colon cancer in Japan is positively related to the increased intake of fat and protein. In addition, the decrease in TDF intake has accelerated the mortality of colon cancer after a delay of 23-24 years. The importance of fat/TDF as a nutritional criterion for the incidence of colon cancer needs to be better recognized.