• Kyodo News


The number of centenarians in Japan is expected to reach a record 44,449 by Wednesday, up 4,050 from a year earlier and rising for the 40th consecutive year, according to a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry survey.

The survey is based on information in the resident registry, which contains current addresses and other data on individuals. However, a separate study of the family-based registry system indicates tens of thousands of centenarians listed as living can’t be accounted for.

Acting on those cases, the ministry conducted another survey of people who are to turn 100 during the current fiscal year through next March 31. It confirmed the whereabouts of 23,218 of the new centenarians, but 10 couldn’t be found.

Across Japan, authorities have found that a number of elderly people are not living in the stated address in the resident registry. A health ministry official said local authorities have been updating information, but it is still possible the registry includes those who are unaccounted for.

According to the latest survey, Japan’s oldest person is Chiyono Hasegawa, 113, of Kiyama, Saga Prefecture. She was born on Nov. 20, 1896.

The oldest male is Jirouemon Kimura, 113, of Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture, who was born April 19, 1897. He was also the oldest man in Japan last year. Of the total, women accounted for 86.8 percent at 38,580.

The ministry calculated the number of people who will turn 100 or older by Wednesday based on the resident registry record as of Sept. 1.

When the survey began in 1963, the number of centenarians totaled 153. The figure surpassed 10,000 in 1998, 20,000 in 2003 and 40,000 in 2009.

Okinawa Prefecture slipped from top spot by the number of centenarians per 100,000 people for the first time since 1973, coming in second with 66.7. It was overtaken by Shimane Prefecture, which had ranked second, with 74.3.

Saitama Prefecture came in last at 18.7.

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