Japanese women retake top spot for life expectancy


Japan's women retook their place as the world's longest-lived last year, edging out Hong Kong women as their life expectancy bounced back from the dip caused by the 2011 tsunami, officials said Thursday.

Health ministry data showed girls born in Japan in 2012 could expect on average to live to 86.41, up from 85.90 in 2011 when the average was dragged lower when thousands of lives were cut short by the natural disaster.

"Death rates rose in 2011 due to the disaster but the life expectancy picked up again with that factor coming off," a health ministry official said.

The Japanese are renowned for their longevity, attributed in part to a healthy diet, active lifestyle and good medical system.

"Generally speaking, the high level of welfare is contributing" to national longevity, the ministry official said.

The health ministry compiled international rankings using data from Japan and 48 other countries plus Hong Kong.

Japanese women in 2011 lost the longest-lived title for the first time in more than 25 years, with Hong Kong women claiming the top place.

In 2012, Hong Kong women came second with a life span of 86.30 years, followed by Spain, France and Switzerland.

Japanese men's life expectancy also rose to a record 79.94 years from 79.44 in 2011, becoming fifth longest-lived.

The longest-lived men were Icelanders at 80.8 years, with Hong Kong coming second, Switzerland third and Israel fourth.

© 2013 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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With the way the younger generation pigs out at their local conbini it won't be too much longer before the life expectancy statistics for Japan start dropping down the list.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Add nosing JT comments as another reason of longevity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...a healthy diet, active lifestyle and good medical system.

Somewhat echoing Yubaru's point, but perhaps only the latter could be said to be true, and then I think you've got be super lucky that you don't get landed with a doctor who thinks your enlarged prostate is a symptom of the common cold.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Conbini stores distribute foods with good nutrition but a little expensive. Longevity depends on what kinds of food for good health you are taking everyday. Wrong choices of food might make your life shorter.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well done Japanese women!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

i'm sure japan used to be proud of this statistic, but this is probably the government's worst nightmare now: supporting old women medically and with home care until they die. this is a huge drain on the nation's finances since these women don't work and live off of a pension their husbands' worked for.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You also have to think about the genetic predisposition of the Japanese. The (Mongoloid) people were able to migrate to the New World across the Bering Strait during the Ice Age.The Japanese have a common ancestor with the yellow race (Mongloid). Caucasian ancestors could not stand the ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer and heat.The ancestors of blacks could not stand the cold. From the Indios living in the tropical rainforest of the Amazon and to the Inuit living in the Arctic Circle frigid, only the yellow race (Mongoloid) survived to adapt this type of environment. Maybe this has led to the long life of the Japanese people?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bloomberg had a gut wrenching article on force feeding of oldies the other day. Not a situation to take any pride in.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It's great Japanese women remain active into old age - heck, the pool at my gym is always full of 70 and 80 year old ladies! You see them flying around on their mama-charis. They seem a lot more confident, active and outgoing than many of their western counterparts - maybe that is the secret?

3 ( +4 / -1 )


This is part of the problem. Many Japanese are kept alive by artificial means for years, perhaps because the more unscrupulous private clinics can make money by keeping them alive. Modern medicine can keep people alive when it would be kinder and more natural to let them pass away. I'm not saying that the Japanese are not on the whole healthier than the other developed nations as I believe they are but there are also many people being kept old because it makes money for someone.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@cechanju - thank you for the link to the article. That's quite horrific.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@cechanju Thanks for the link, although it certainly is gut wrenching as you point out. Getting old and skipping this mortal coil gracefully requires a great deal of luck.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting topic.

Live a typical "boring" Japanese life for 86 years or live a bit and shave a few years off?

My neighbors sit around watching TV (no matter what season) and get two visits from their kids/grandkids a year (despite the fact they live in the same town!) From my point of view, they seem bored/to be sat about waiting for the big sleep.

Better to die old than young, but I plan to enjoy myself if I make it to retirement.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh, I am very proud of you Japanese women, Obachan, Obaachan. They take care of themselves very well. You go, women!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Taro Aso got a lot of flack for saying the tubes should come out...

I wonder if he was speaking from his own experience. For all his failings, he seems more in tune with the reality of some aged care here than his detractors...

Bloomberg's article as a hyperlink.


0 ( +1 / -1 )

Conbini stores distribute foods with good nutrition but a little expensive.

I guess it's all the "good nutrition" at cheap prices that is making all these kids get fatter here and in effect decrease their life expediencies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

...a healthy diet, active lifestyle and good medical system.

...but perhaps only the latter could be said to be true....

Are you seriously suggesting Japan has a good medical system?! I'm speechless!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The reaction to this statistic by Japanese people always amuses me. They all seem to think they will live to at least 80. They don't seem to realize this statistic is based on the lifestyle of 50-80 years ago in the pre-MacDonalds era.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@bilderberg I was careful to include 'perhaps' and 'could be...', but the system here, for all its failings, is better than countries where a low life expectancy is due to lack of access to basic medical care, including things like vaccinations or functioning hospitals. I generally walk out of small, local clinics here feeling that the doctor was a condescending bastard who didn't seem to know what s/he was talking about, but my experience of the two university hospitals I've visited has been very good, even if the treatment has been a little long-winded. I'm talking about Yokohama, by the way, so it may well be a different story outside of the big cities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese women retake top spot for life expectancy

Leaching of they husband and doing nothing at home, just go out shopping with friend and from cafe to cafe, anyone can leave 200 with that kind of life style.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

i mean live 200.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Leaching of they husband and doing nothing at home, just go out shopping with friend and from cafe to cafe, anyone can leave 200 with that kind of life style.

Actually if this were true I do believe that they'd all be pretty much dead by 70 by the sedentary lifestyle.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Considering the fact that the government doesn't know when some dies. Remember the case where the prefectural government wanted to honor the oldest person in Japan and found out the that person died decades ago because the family wanted the pension. I take these numbers with a grain of salt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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