The average life expectancy for Japanese men rose to 80.21 years in 2013, passing 80 for the first time, while the women retained the title of world’s longest life expectancy for a second consecutive year at 86.61, the welfare ministry said Thursday.
Last year’s figures set new records for both men and women, with a gain of 0.27 year for men and 0.20 year for women over 2012. The gap between the sexes meanwhile narrowed by 0.07, leaving it at 6.40 years.
The ministry attributed the longer average to improving mortality rates for such diseases as cancer, heart disease and pneumonia.
“If medical treatment makes progress, there is a possibility that life expectancy may still be extended for both men and women,” a ministry official said.
Japanese women had held the world’s longest average life expectancy for 26 years in a row until 2010. They fell behind Hong Kong in 2011, mostly because of the deadly mega-quake and tsunami that ravaged the coast of Tohoku in March that year.
The average life expectancy denotes expectancy at the time of birth.