Japan's century club doubles in six years

The number of centenarians in Japan has risen at an accelerating pace for nearly 50 years.

Japan's century club doubles in six years

The number of Japanese centenarians has doubled in the past six years to a record high of more than 40,000, with women dominating the list of those whose lives have spanned more than a century, the government said Friday.

Japan will have 40,399 people aged 100 or older this month, surpassing the previous record of 36,276 last year, the Health and Welfare Ministry said in an annual report marking a Sept. 21 national holiday honoring the elderly. More than 86 percent are women.

The number of centenarians in Japan has risen at an accelerating pace for nearly 50 years. The centenarian population surpassed 10,000 just 10 years ago, reached 30,000 in 2007 and grew another 10,000 in the past two years, the ministry said.

Japan's centenarian numbers rank it second in the world behind the United States, which now has more than 96,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. But the U.S. population is more than double that of Japan.

Japan boasts the longest life expectancy in the world, with experts citing healthy diet, high quality health care and a tradition of active pensioners as factors in the phenomenon.

The survey was issued ahead of Respect for the Aged day, a national holiday, on Sept. 21.


Agencies

Last Mod: 11 Eylül 2009, 13:05
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