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The number of current centenarians in Japan and those who are due to be centenarians by the end of September reached a record high of 17,934 as of Sept. 1, with 84 percent of these women, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Tuesday.

This figure has increased by 2,459 from last year and is about 4.3 times the 4,152 registered 10 years ago, the ministry said. The number of women is 4.5 times higher at 15,059, while the number of men is 3.5 times greater at 2,875, it said.

“The figure will likely continue to rise until peaking around the mid-2070s, when the children of the baby boomer generation reach their 100s,” a ministry official said.

Okinawa has the highest proportion of centenarians of any prefecture, topping the list for the 13th consecutive year since 1990.

The average number of centenarians per 100,000 people stands at 14.09 for the country as a whole, while that for Okinawa stands at 39.5.

Okinawa is followed by Kochi Prefecture, at 35.06, and Shimane Prefecture, at 28.65. Saitama Prefecture, with 6.5, props up the table the 13th straight year.

Kamato Hongo of the city of Kagoshima, who will be 115 years old on Monday, is the oldest person in Japan, followed by 113-year-old Yukichi Chuganji of Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, and Mitoyo Kawate, 113, of Hiroshima.

Hongo is the world’s oldest woman, while Chuganji is the world’s oldest man, according to the ministry.

Only 153 people were verified as being aged over 100 in Japan in 1963, when the ministry started taking the statistics.

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